Tag Archives: High school football

The Battle of New Orleans’ Catholic League: Jesuit vs. Holy Cross

By Kyle Huber

Friday nights in the fall, no matter in what state, belong to high school football. Even movies and TV shows about high school football have donned the name “Friday Night Lights.”

From state to state, young athletes suit up and play for school, family, and community, against district foes and long-time rivals.

This was the case Oct. 10 at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, when the Jesuit Blue Jays and Holy Cross Tigers battled for the 95th time in the state’s longest continuous rivalry and the sixth longest in the United States.

The first game was played in 1922, which Jesuit won 52-0. The two teams have played every year since, including twice in 1963, once in the regular season and again for the state championship, which Holy Cross won.

Even during the 2005 season, only a couple of months after Hurricane Katrina severely damaged both schools’ campuses, the series continued unbroken.

Since 2008, Jesuit and Holy Cross have participated in “The Great American Rivalry Series,” which selects the greatest rivalries throughout the country and is put on by the Marine Corps.

“The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed,” said the series’ website.

Although he is in his first season as the Holy Cross head coach, Eric Rebaudo understands the reputation of the rivalry.

“It’s quite a spectacle,” Rebaudo said. We know what we’re in for, it’s always a battle, it doesn’t matter the records.”

His counterpart, Mark Songy, who is also in the first year of his second stint as the head coach of the Blue Jays, also acknowledges the importance of the rivalry.

“It’s gotten to be so big,” Songy said, “and we are excited to play in it. It’s important to our kids, it’s important to our community, and our alums. I know it’s important to Holy Cross, and they’ll come to play real hard, and we’ll come do the same thing. It’s going to be a wonderful event for all the fans and the players alike.”

However, it seems Songy has done a great job making sure his players don’t get caught up in all of the hoopla and stay focused on the game.

“It’s just another game for us, and we are going to play it like it’s just another game,” said Trey LaForge, Jesuit’s starting quarterback.

Don’t put too much stock in LaForge’s comment. There’s a lot going on and a lot up for grabs to be “just another game,” including year-long bragging rights, district standings, a Great American Rivalry Series Champions trophy, and a golden football to be housed at the winning team’s school for the year.

Other awards given at the game are: the game’s Most Valuable Player, a recognition of the top student-athlete from each school, and two alumni donned “Legends of the Game” from each school.

This year’s “Legends of the Games” were Frank Massa, a Jesuit graduate of 1954, and Billy Truax, a Holy Cross graduate of 1960.

While the games are usually hard-fought and close, this year’s game was all Blue Jays as they took back the trophies and bragging rights, clipping the Tigers 56-14.

LaForge, earned most valuable player by completing 14 of 18 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns and adding a 5-yard rushing touchdown.

The victory gives the Jays a 55-38-1 hold on the series’ overall record.

Even though there was rain pregame and the game was not close, in true New Orleans fashion, the tradition held strong.

Surrounded by the City Park oak trees and amongst family, friends, and foes, the crowd of approximately 15,000 took part in the festivities to continue the state’s oldest high school football rivalry.

No matter the conditions, records, score, or weather, you can bet that the Jesuit and Holy Cross rivalry will be “under the lights” for many years to come.

Sucess Plus Controversy Equals Significant Change

 

Photo courtesy of Nextspex.com

Photo courtesy of Nextspex.com

Thirteen Louisiana state championship trophies are shelved in a glass case that

resides in a barn like school on Broadacres Road in Shreveport, La. Evangel

Christian Academy is only 24-years-old but has reached tremendous high

school football success.

 

Along with success, comes controversy.

 

At the bottom of the boot, John Curtis Christian High School has nearly doubled

Evangel’s football success raking in a total of 25 state championships.

 

Growing up in north Louisiana I was fortunate enough to experience the ECA

football domination first hand. In 1999, ECA earned the elite title of national high

school football champions. It was a time when Evangel football solidified itself as

a national powerhouse.

 

In 1975, John Curtis began its high school football domination with the Patriots’

winning their first state title and consistently winning more titles than losing over

the past few decades.

 

Throughout the state there has been uproar over the dispute to split Louisiana high

school football playoffs between public and other schools. It is hard to believe that

these two private schools have stirred up so much turmoil for the entire state.

 

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association has voted to chunk a system that has

been in place for more than 90 years. There have been two attempts to divide the

association, but none have succeeded until now.

 

Tommy Henry, former LHSAA Commissioner, believes the controversy stems from

the success of Evangel and John Curtis.

 

“They can paint it a lot of colors but it’s all about football,” Henry said. “We’re

rigging competition. If we start doing that, than to me we lose sight of what high

school sports is all about.”

 

According to the tri-parishtimes.com, principals voted 206-119 in favor of proposal

No. 18 on Jan. 25 at the LHSAA’s annual convention in Baton Rouge. Proposal

No. 18 is a motion that will separate Louisiana prep football’s postseason play.

 

Schools will be classified as “non-select” (public) or “select” (non-public, charter,

university lab or magnet). From these changes, the brackets will be divided based on

which category the school falls under.

 

According to thenewsstar.com, House Bill 267 alleges the LHSAA discriminates

against schools that select their students after a recent decision by the association

split select and non-select schools into separate football playoff brackets.

 

Robin Fambrough, long-time prep sports writer for the Advocate, explains how

HB 267 could potentially harm the LHSAA.

 

“It could cripple the LHSAA,” Fambrough said, “taking away 77 percent of the

association.”

 

According to thenewsstar.com, should HB 267 become law, 299 schools, or 77

Percent, could no longer participate in the LHSAA. Non-select

schools would be banned from participating in athletic competition regulated by the

LHSAA.

 

The organization administers 27 championship sports for about 70,000 high

school athletes in the state.

 

“First we have a division,” Henry said. “We have segregation and discrimination.”

 

A number of people involved with high school football, select or non-select, believe

the split to be unfair for both sides.

 

“I don’t think this solves our problem,” Patterson High School football coach Tommy

Minton said to Tri-parishtimes.com. “At best, I think this just shifts the problem

around. … I don’t know what we’re really accomplishing with this besides hurting a

lot of innocent schools who are in the crossfire.”

 

“We’re teaching them to run away from things over a football trophy,” Henry said.

 

According to LHSAA.org, Steve Carter, Chairman of the House Education Committee,

agreed to postpone the consideration of HB 267 to allow the School Relations

Committee some time to come up with possible amendments and changes to current

LHSAA rules.

 

On June 6th, according to WBRZ.com, the LHSAA executive committee decided

to combine Division II and III (4A and 3A select divisions) in order to have enough

teams for a proper playoff. Before the decision, Division II consisted of five eligible

teams. Now with the collaboration, there will be a total of 16 schools competing in

Division III for select schools. This decision was solely for playoff football.

 

The new football playoff system kicks off Thursday,December 12 and wraps

up Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.