Parish teams will join new districts in 2022-23

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

We’re now just a little more than two months away from the start of the 2022-23 high-school athletic year. 

And when it begins, football and volleyball will be the first sports played. These will also be the first sports that will experience the district changes that will take effect this year for Ascension Parish teams.

Not all of these changes will be drastic.

Donaldsonville will move from District 9-3A to District 8-3A in football, basketball, baseball, softball and track, but its district counterparts will be largely unchanged.

The Tigers will continue to share a league with St. James, E.D. White, Patterson and Berwick. The only difference will be the exclusion of Lutcher. Luther is moving up to Class 4A.

In football last season, the Bulldogs went 7-1 and reached the state quarterfinals. That win total included a 49-22 victory over Donaldsonville.

In football, basketball, baseball, softball and track, Ascension Catholic and Ascension Christian will move from District 7-1A to District 8-1A.

However, there will be no changes when it comes to the teams composing the district. The Bulldogs and Lions will still be district rivals of East Iberville, St. John and White Castle.

But there will be a huge change in store for Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant. 

These three schools will remain in District 5-5A for football, basketball, baseball, softball and track, but they will have three new district opponents.

Catholic and Woodlawn have both changed districts. McKinley has moved down to Class 4A. Catholic won the District 5-5A football title for the past four years.

The Ascension trio will now be joined by a trio from Livingston Parish—Denham Springs, Live Oak and Walker.

In the 2021 football season, Denham Springs went 5-4 and reached the second round of the playoffs, while Live Oak went 4-5 and lost in round one. Walker went 3-5 and missed out on the postseason.

Walker played both St. Amant and East Ascension last year. The Gators beat them, 28-15, while the Spartans won, 48-25.

“I’m excited about the new district,” East Ascension head football coach Darnell Lee said. “We played Walker last season, so we had a chance to see what they had. They were young; they’re going to be better this year. Adding Live Oak, I can see the parity. There’s no Catholic. I didn’t mind playing them because I thought it got you ready for the playoffs, but it feels like this new district is going to be like playing Dutchtown and St. Amant every week. It’s some real good football teams that are well coached with a strong community base.”

St. Amant head football coach David Oliver said he’s also looking forward to competing in the new-look District 5-5A.

“I think it’s going to be real competitive. Every time you get on social media, you see another Dutchtown or Denham player getting offered a scholarship,” Oliver said. “I like the travel, and I like the fact that they all have full freshmen and JV teams. Some people think it’s going to be simple to walk right in and compete, but it’s not. It’s going to be a tough football league. It’s hard to pick against EA; they look good every year. Denham’s supposed to be pretty tough, and throw Dutchtown in there, too. Walker will be improved. I think it’s going to be a real good district.”

For volleyball, Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant will move from District 4 to District 6.

In this new league, there will be just one small change. Denham Springs will join the Ascension trio, Live Oak and Walker. The Lady Yellow Jackets reached the playoffs last season as the No. 24 seed. 

Ascension Catholic and Ascension Christian volleyball will move from District 3 to District 6.

This new district will no longer contain East Iberville and St. John. White Castle will remain, but the league will add new faces in Riverside Academy and West St. John.

Riverside reached the second round of the playoffs last season.