Zephyr Field ready for prep football; Yulman next?

Friday, Sept. 23, will bring a first for Zephyr Field.

That night, Brother Martin and John Curtis will play the first high school football game in the stadium.

Zephyr Field opened in April 1997. Football at the Shrine on Airline is long overdue.

Here’s what that night might look like: 

Brother Martin running back Bruce Jordan-Swilling, one of the best in the Class of 2017, is ready to run against an outstanding John Curtis defense. Anticipation is in the air. The view, especially down the left field line at Zephyr Field, is terrific. The suites are filled. The upper deck at Zephyr Field, filled only when LSU baseball plays there, is packed. The home-run porch, just over the left field fence, is packed.

Fans who buy a ticket to the Zephyrs Party Shack get reserved seating in portable bleachers in the outfield. Those seats provide an intimate view of the field.

A crowd in excess of 9,000 attends. And, when it is over, whether their team wins or loses, those in attendance are asking the same question: Why didn’t this happen a lot sooner?

In the meantime, new Tulane director of athletics Troy Dannen has expressed interest in allowing high school football to be played at Yulman Stadium. The venue is intimate. A doubleheader at Yulman Stadium, featuring four of the top teams in the metro New Orleans area, could draw up to 20,000.

But, in its agreement with the surrounding neighborhood, Tulane has agreed to only one possible game in a weekend when the Green Wave football team is not home. Too bad.

Sometime in October, on a beautiful crisp fall afternoon, I see some of the best high school football players in the metro area soaking in the experience of playing at Yulman.

The night only gets better when a second game kicks off at 7 p.m. Perhaps by that time, head coach Willie Fritz and his staff are changing the perception of Tulane football. Maybe a handful of the best players in the metro open their eyes to a possible college football life uptown. It is a nice dream.

Maybe one day, it will be a reality. In the meantime, the Zephyrs are scheduled to announce this week that prep football at Zephyr Field is a reality.

When the Brother Martin Crusaders and John Curtis Patriots hit the field on the night of Sept. 23, their game won’t be just another game on a Friday night. It will be “the” game, with a big-time feel.

Both teams, coaches and fans will be part of special night – a night that is long overdue.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC 26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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