Doug Mouton / Northshore Bureau Chief
Covington -- Monday afternoon, The Louisiana High School Athletic Association reversed its decision Sunday, and will allow Lakeshore High School to compete in the 4A State Football Playoffs.
The announcement was met with cheers both at the St. Tammany School Board headquarters in Covington, and at the school, where the Lakeshore volleyball team was getting ready to board a bus for a playoff game in Rayne.
'We're extremely happy,' St. Tammany School Superintendent Trey Folse said after learning of the decision, 'and appreciate Kenny Henderson for doing what we thought was the right thing from the start.'
Before the decision was announced, school leaders didn't know if the volleyball team would be allowed to play its game. That game will now go on as scheduled Monday night.
'You never know if it's going to work out for you,' Lakeshore High parent Alan Galdamez said after hearing the decision, 'especially when politics have to do with things. It's just nice to see that the right thing was done this time.'
Friday night, the Lakeshore High Titan football team defeated Franklinton to earn a share of the district championship, and a berth in the State 4A Playoffs.
But when playoff brackets were announced Sunday evening, Lakeshore was not included. School leaders were told, Lakeshore was deemed ineligible because of an LHSAA rule which says, new schools are ineligible for two years before being allowed to compete in state playoffs.
Lakeshore High parents lined up outside the St. Tammany School Headquarters in Covington early Monday morning to voice their displeasure.
'It's frustrating,' Lakeshore parent Eric Wahlen said early Monday morning, 'not only to the parents, but it's devastating to the children.'
'They've earned the right to play,' Lakeshore parent Mike Lafitteau added. 'Don't have someone take it away from them.' The school system immediately began an appeal.
'We've got a lot of good people working on it,' Superintendent Folse said early Monday. 'We've got a lot of good parents that are supporters, so I'm going to stay positive and hope that common sense will prevail on this issue.'
The Lakeshore appeal centered on two points. First, that Lakeshore was accepted into the LHSAA before the two-year ineligibility rule went into effect, and secondly, because ten other Lakeshore High teams in sports such as Boys and Girls Soccer, Swimming, Baseball, Track and Field and Cross Country, had already competed in the LHSAA Playoffs. To exclude team number eleven, the football team, school leaders argued, didn't make sense.
By Monday afternoon, the LHSAA agreed, and ruled all Lakeshore High teams immediately eligible.
'We presented our case,' Superintendent Folse said. 'They listened. The right thing did happen.'
'It's a great feeling for football, for the whole school,' parent Alan Galdamez added. 'It's a great win for the whole school.'
The football team will now play Friday night in Lafayette against St. Thomas More.