LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Natchitoches is the city of lights. Home to the Christmas Festival and this year, the LHSAA Prep Classic. For the first time since 1995, we have a pair of teams in search of a state title in Kinder and Grand Lake.
The Jackets wrapped up practice earlier tonight and are headed into Natchitoches Sunday morning for their matchup with the top-seeded Many Tigers.
While moving the title game from the Superdome to Turpin Stadium is a letdown for some, the Jackets are making the best of the situation.
“It’s going to be a state championship, but to a degree, it’s going to be almost a normal away game,” Kinder linebacker, Trenton Bono said. “There is some normalcy to it so for some guys it may help to keep the task at hand.”
“You grow up and you dream about playing in the Dome. You want to play there,” Kinder head coach Bret Fuselier said. “That’s where the Saints play, that’s where Drew Brees plays and all those guys. But our focus is on a state championship and not necessarily playing in the dome. That’s what our kids are doing and that’s what we’re focused on here.”
Many, meanwhile, will be focused on capturing the Class 2A title that eluded them a year ago. The Tigers have title game experience throughout the roster and coaching staff while Kinder’s championship experience lies solely with the coaches and dual-sport athletes.
“Whenever you have that experience on the staff like we do, not only for football because some of these guys coached in state championship games in baseball and won titles there, it changes the mindset of a staff. It’s always good to have those guys on here because they’ve been here before,” Fuselier said. “You can’t say enough about the experience and that’s what this staff has.”
It’ll be two similar football teams on display Sunday afternoon as the Jackets and Tigers clash for the 2A title.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Grand Lake Hornets are excited to play in their first-ever championship game. The program has come a long way in the eight seasons since its resurrection. Hornet coach Jeff Wainwright watched South Cameron in the title game 34 years ago and has dreamed about taking his own team.
“I went and watched South Cameron in 1986 and ever since then it clicked a lightbulb on in my head of what a state championship game is. My family has been going ever since whether that’s listening to the game on the radio or TV and you always see two great teams in that event. Oak Grove is a great opponent for us and they pose a lot of challenges. Our kids understand it and at this point, it’s all about the X’s & O’s of the game in the 48 minutes that we’re going to play,” Grand Lake head coach Jeff Wainwright said.
We’ll talk more about Grand Lake and Oak Grove Sunday, December 27, in addition to a Kinder championship recap from Turpin.
Also, you can see all the championship action and reaction right here on KPLC.
You can catch a live scoreboard of the state title games HERE.