Fambrough: Is this the year a Baton Rouge 5A team breaks through at the Superdome?

The Big Easy. The Big Finish.

That’s what every high school football team in Louisiana wants.

Trips to New Orleans and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic are typically few and far between for many Baton Rouge area high schools.

It’s a source of frustration for some and consternation for others. Those feelings run especially deep for fans of area Class 5A schools.

The fact that University High played for a Division II state title last year was nice. Parkview Baptist’s four state titles in 3A are good window-dressing, and so are the three titles Redemptorist won (one in 4A, two in 3A) in the past decade.

Add 1A titles won by Dunham School (2004), Southern Lab (1996) and Ascension Catholic (1992), and that sums up Baton Rouge’s title history since 1990.

No Baton Rouge 5A team has roamed the Dome since the class was added in 1991. Not everyone has the words to express what they feel. One local parent did it within Twitter’s 140-character limit.

Local attorney Lindsey Scott Sr. recently tweeted, “Time for BR 5A football to demand respect. Time to go to #Dome #Zachary @dutchtown1 #Scotlandville, #Catholic #Central #Attitude”

Scott’s son, Lindsey, is the quarterback who helped Zachary to the quarterfinals a year ago. Unfortunately, that’s been about as good as it gets.

Catholic High was the 4A runner-up the year before 5A became the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s top class. The Bears have made six semifinal appearances since 1991 and were a Division I quarterfinalist last fall.

Central has one semifinal appearance and several quarterfinal appearances, including one last year. Dutchtown made it to the quarterfinals a couple of times and also was in the 2013 quarterfinals along with Zachary.

Critics tell you there’s nothing like being the top dog in the top class. Meanwhile, the coaches point out there’s nothing like 5A competition, either.

“People ask me what the difference between 5A and the other classes is, and it’s pretty simple to explain,” Central coach Sid Edwards said. “There’s no place to hide. In 5A football, all the teams that make the playoffs have talent, and most of them have depth, especially the ones that go deep in the playoffs.”

Edwards knows the flip side of the coin. He won two state titles at Redemptorist.

There is no lucky coin to rub or magic potion that guarantees a Class 5A title. Schools such as West Monroe, Evangel Christian and now most certainly Acadiana have won repeatedly. Archbishop Rummel won 5A and Division I select titles back-to-back.

I believe it comes down to the right combination of luck and/or fate. Injuries and the often devastating tough draw are factors, but dominance has to start somewhere.

For West Monroe, it happened with a first state title in 1993. Evangel, now set to be Division I select, won its first title in 1999. The year for Acadiana was 1996, a year in which the Wreckin’ Rams beat Catholic in the semifinals. Central lost to eventual champion Destrehan in 2007.

Could this be Baton Rouge’s year? The likely prospects — or should that be usual suspects? — are gearing up. So are other hopefuls such as Scotlandville.

The fact that Bossier City-based Parkway and Lake Charles’ Barbe are the past two 5A runners-up is a plus. Those teams also waited their turn for success. Baton Rouge is due.

Hope always springs eternal in the preseason, and I’m one of those optimists. But enough about fantasies and facts. It’s time for the sacred F-word: football.

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