Roller coaster: Range of emotions experienced in 2013 sports year

Plaquemine head football coach Paul Distefano leads the Green Devils onto the field before a Class 4A regional playoff game with Franklin Parish. The Green Devils finished the season 10-3 after claiming a district title for the first time in 11 years. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE - Through the course of a career, athletes experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Iberville Parish sports fans could relate in 2013. The year in athletics took local student-athletes, coaches and supporters on a roller coaster ride of emotion, from the pain of tough losses to the indescribable joy of championships.

1. Plaquemine wins football district title for first time in 11 years

Plaquemine won a district title in football for the first time in 11 years with a 4-0 6-4A record under coach Paul Distefano and advanced to the Class 4A quarterfinals with victories over Washington-Marion and Franklin Parish before falling to Landry-Walker to finish 10-3 overall.

White Castle, St. John and East Iberville also advanced to the football postseason. The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers, making their first appearance in nearly 30 years despite going winless, and East Beauregard before falling to Mangham in the Class 1A nonselect quarterfinals to finish 8-5. St. John also defeated Christian Life in the select first round before falling to Metairie Park-Country Day in the regionals to finish 4-8.

2. St. John advances to LHSAA Class 1A baseball state tournament

St. John the Evangelist High School advanced to the LHSAA Class 1A semifinals after claiming the District 9-1A title with a 9-1 mark. The Eagles defeated Christian Life, St. Frederick and Westminster Christian before falling to eventual champion Mangham in the state tournament in Monroe to finish 28-7.

Plaquemine also advanced to the postseason falling to St. Michael the Archangel in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs to finish 14-10.

3. Lady Eagles return to volleyball state tournament

St. John's volleyball team returned to the LHSAA state tournament and won the District 3-V crown each for the third straight year finishing 30-14 overall.

White Castle and Plaquemine also advanced to the volleyball postseason.

4. St. John softball team returns to state tournament

The Lady Eagles also returned to the LHSAA state softball tournament for the fourth straight year and claimed the District 9-1A title with a 10-0 record. St. John finished 23-11 overall.

Plaquemine advanced to the Class 4A playoffs as well and were District 6-4A co-champs with a 7-1 mark. The Lady Green Devils finished 16-10 overall.

5. White Castle, Plaquemine claim state titles in track and field

White Castle's 4x200 meter relay team won the state championship at the LHSAA track and field meet and Robert Franklin took home the Class 1A title in the long jump.

Plaquemine's Alissa Williams also won the Class 4A 100-meter dash.

6. East Iberville wins district title in boys basketball

East Iberville won the District 9-1A title outright for the first time in Doug Schultz's tenure and White Castle advanced to the LHSAA Class 1A quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive season.

The Tigers finished 10-0 in district play and 16-12 overall while the Bulldogs ended up 17-11.

7. Lady Tigers, Bulldogs advance to basketball regionals

East Iberville and White Castle each advanced to the Class 1A regionals in girls basketball. The Lady Tigers were District 9-1A runners-up with an 8-2 mark and finished 18-12 overall while White Castle finished with a 16-15 overall record.

8. Saints return to NFL postseason

The New Orleans Saints rebounded from bounty gate that left their coach Sean Payton suspended for an entire season to return to the NFL Playoffs after a year's absence with a 10-5 record. The Saints have advanced to the divisional round where they will face Seattle on Saturday.

9. LSU football claims fourth straight 10-win season

LSU claimed the Outback Bowl over Iowa to post its fourth consecutive 10-win season under coach Les Miles. The Tigers finished the season 10-3 overall despite losing 10 underclassmen to the NFL draft the previous season.

10. LSU baseball returns to College World Series

LSU baseball returned to the College World Series while setting the school and SEC record for wins in a season compiling a 57-11 overall record. The Tigers claimed SEC West, SEC Tournament, NCAA regional and NCAA super regional titles along the way.