LHSAA looking for all-star football game nominations

By Robin Fambrough

rfambrough@theadvocate.com

Football coaches at Louisiana High School Athletic Association schools are under the fire again. But not for the reason you might expect.

Believe it or not, this potential conflict has nothing to do with the LHSAA’s split football playoff format that goes into effect this fall.

It’s an all-star issue and LHSAA assistant executive Director B.J. Guzzardo doesn’t mince words.

“The coaches voted to go to an all-star game with all Louisiana kids in Shreveport,” Guzzardo said. “And less than a week before the deadline, I barely have enough nominations for one team, let alone two.”

Guzzardo asked if the media would mind publishing a reminder for coaches to nominate their top senior players by the Tuesday deadline. Consider that done.

Nominations can be submitted to Guzzardo by email to bguzzardo@lhsaa.org or faxed to him at (225) 300-4244.

Players are scheduled to report for practice Dec. 18 for the game Dec. 21 at Independence Stadium.

The move back to an East vs. West format with two Louisiana teams was approved at last month’s Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s annual Coaches Clinic. The vote came after it was announced that the annual Texas vs. Louisiana Bayou Bowl would not continue after 11 seasons.

Less than a month ago the coaches and Guzzardo were talking about enticing Louisiana’s top talent to play in the all-star game that will be played before the national all-star games.

At the time, it looked like the LHSCA and LHSAA could have some cake and eat it too. Top players could play in the LHSCA game and then move on to a national game.

But the early selection process that requires players to be nominated and selected by Aug. 25, before a single jamboree or regular season game is played, is a cause for concern among coaches.

What if a player who is chosen doesn’t have a stellar season and a teammate emerges as a more viable all-star nominee? What happens if several players get injured?

Granted, Guzzardo and new LHSCA Director Gary Duhe will need time to make plans for the December game, which will be the first all-Louisiana all-star football game since 2006.

It will be interesting to how this new process of picking two 32- to 34-player squads evolves.

The July-based LHSCA game languished during its final 15 years because top prospects opted not to play, citing college obligations. The June-based Bayou Bowl encountered similar issues in recent years.

The move to a December all-star game makes sense. Players are in shape because their respective seasons just ended. There should be fewer college-related issues.

Skeptics question whether the LHSCA game can attract the state’s top stars.

This format change and early nomination deadline put pressure on the coaches not only to nominate players, but also to sell their top players on it.

I guess we’ll know soon enough how it turns out.

Stadium assists

The Advocate sports staff would like to credit the managers at Tad Gormley and Olympia stadiums for allowing us to shoot photos for our preseason football editions at their sites.

So thank you Olympia manager Marc Palmer and BREC supervisor, Brandon Smith, as well as Gormley manager Tony Biagas for your help.