The playoffs start a week from tonight in prep football. De La Salle will be in those brackets this year, but that wasn't always the case.
The school's football program has gone from cellar dwellers in the standings to playoff constant. The cavaliers will be making their fourth straight appearance in the postseason next week, and that's impressive considering the humble beginnings when head coach Ryan Manale was hired.
"The first day I walked on campus we had 29 kids in the meeting room," Manale said. "I went and asked the ad is this junior high, junior varsity? They said this is it. This is all your players. We don't have junior high, junior varsity. The first year was different for me. I knew it was a process, and it's a grind. The support of the administration has made this a special ride so far."
Tonight's matchup with Lusher is big for a few reasons. It's an Uptown rival, and it'll help with playoff seedings.
"I can't even tell you the exact date the last time De La Salle hosted a playoff game," Manale said. "That's the talk around here, that if we win, we host a playoff game. We play a pretty decent Lusher team, and there's definitely some excitement here on the Avenue. It would be a great thing to see and do.
The Cav's roster is now in the upper 50s, and only growing. Kids considering the elite schools in the New Orleans area now put DLS on their final list.
"What a difference it's been since I walked in here, to right now," Manale said. "The perception of De La Calle in the community is totally different. We are on the levels with the Rummels, the Brother Martins, the Jesuits, and the Holy Crosses in the community and the churches in the playgrounds. It's a beautiful thing to see and hear."