Gators set sights on playoffs

Coach Brian Williams talks to his team during the last game before playoffs. Photo by Ethan Smith.

After a run to the Top 28 last season, the Lakeview Gators were expected to be in a rebuilding stage this year. With three of their starters sophomores or younger, people expected them to be building their team chemistry and figuring out the kinks. But somehow, this Lakeview Gator team finished the year 18-6 and still remained one of the top teams in 2A, finishing at the number 6 seed.

Their first round game will be Friday, Feb. 26 against Northeast High School of Pride. This game against the 27th seeded team will be at the Swamp. Assuming the Gators make it out of round one, they will face the winner of 11-seed Madison and 22-seed Sarah T. Reed in the second round.

Madison is the heavy favorite in their first round matchup, and would make for a great game in round two against the Gators. Madison, the sixth seed last season, has consistently been a top 10 team in 2A all year, but a loss in their final regular season game bumped them down in the rankings to 11 come the bracket release. Don’t let the seed fool you though, this team is going to be one of the better ones Lakeview may face post season. Finally, assuming the Gators make it to the third round, the heavy favorite to win our quarter of the bracket will be the 3-seed Many.

If you’ve been following, you’ll know the Gators were one of two teams to beat the Tigers in the regular season, and if you went to that game you know that Many has now become a close second to Red River as Lakeview’s biggest rival. Coach Brian Williams drew up the perfect game plan to defeat the then-undefeated Many team, and if the cards are drawn in the Gator’s favor, he may have a chance to do it again and take his team on a shocking trip back to the Top 28, for what would be Lakeview’s second consecutive trip in the last seven years.

This is going to be a tough playoff run for Lakeview to conquer, but as many teams have realized this season, never count the Gators out.

In Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, print edition