History not quite ready for Ragas’ romp over Higgins
I admit that I’m a fan of record and history books.
So when Archbishop Shaw running back Trey Ragas needed to score 16 more points to tie a 99-year-old milestone for most points by an individual in a locally played prep football game, I was pulling for him.
The junior tailback had tallied 38 points on six touchdowns and a 2-point conversion on Sept. 26 against Higgins, and he had enough time left in the game to add to that total. But, at best, Ragas would have had to score two more TDs and 2-point conversions to equal the 54-point feat accomplished by Warren Easton‘s Bob Shepard in an 82-0 rout of Rugby Academy in 1915.
No one knows how many yards Shepard gained that day because the scribes did not record that statistic back then.
At that time, Easton was more publicized as “Boys High” or simply “High School” because it was the city’s only public school for Caucasian males.
Although I would like to have seen Ragas earn a piece of New Orleans’ prep history, I knew that a head coach the caliber of Shaw’s Scott Bairnsfather would not have asked his tiring star ball-carrier to needlessly extend himself in a game the Eagles had in the bag by a 44-23 score. Nor would he have tried to further embarrass his team’s opponents.
Ragas, who established himself as one of the Catholic League’s premier ball-carriers when he rushed 1,115 yards as a sophomore in 2013, enjoyed his biggest night of the four-game season by rushing for 272 yards on 31 carries to bring his season total to 665 yards for the 3-1 Eagles.
When Shepard, who barely weighed 140 pounds, turned in his Herculean performance, Easton had been in its new, pristine building on Canal Street for less than two years and considered all intra-city opponents, except Jesuit, nuisances.
Rugby, a small military academy on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Bordeaux Street, played just three games that season and lost all by a combined score of 152-0. And, unlike Bairnsfather, Easton’s head coach, the legendary Perry Roehm, had little compassion for the feelings of his rivals because football back then was no touchy-feely sport.
During this era, non-public schools like Jesuit, Newman and Rugby, were not recognized as contenders for a state football championship. There was no state association at the time, so public schools made their own playoff arrangements, and oftentimes, more than one claimed to be the state champion.
So when, Easton played its archrival, Jesuit, to a 6-6 tie to climax the season, Roehm refused to recognize his Catholic school rival as the city’s co-champion.
But, there was money to be made, and the two agreed to play again for the “city championship” at Heinemann Park (Pelican Stadium) on the corner of Tulane and South Carrollton Avenues. Easton won, 13-12, and Roehm rested his case as the true New Orleans champion for another year.
And, as a footnote to this history tidbit, Shepard provided the winning points by scoring the tying touchdown then drop-kicking the deciding point.
For you newbies who have never heard of a drop-kick, it is similar to a punt, but the kicker must allow the point of the football to touch the ground before he kicks it.
And that’s your prep history lesson for the time being.
Saders join the Top 10
Unbeaten in its first four games, Brother Martin became the third Catholic League football team to make the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A Top 10 poll on Sept. 30.
Early-season victories by Coach Mark Bonis’ Crusaders over Patterson, John Ehret, Franklinton and East Ascension moved the District 9-5A team into the No. 10 spot. Martin replaced Hahnville, which lost to Thibodaux last week.
Archbishop Rummel remained the No. 1 team following another hair-raising victory over Catholic in Baton Rouge. The Raiders now take that 17-14 victory to Prairieville where they face Dutchtown. The trip will be Rummel’s last game outside the metro area until the playoffs.
An easy 49-17 victory at Pensacola preserved Jesuit’s No. 6 position after four weeks. The other three Catholic League teams – Shaw (3-1), Holy Cross (3-1) and St. Augustine (2-1) are receiving little attention from the voters.
But De La Salle is on the bubble of making the Class 3A Top 10. Following their 49-0 win over Ben Franklin, the Cavaliers fell four points short of a No. 10 ranking, which went to Amite. But the 25 points the Cavs received dwarfed the six earned by once-powerful Evangel, whose 1-3 record has fallen from the grace of the voters.
Volley battle rages on
Round 3 between Mount Carmel and St. Joseph’s volleyball teams went to SJA last weekend, 22-25, 25-18, 10-15, in the finals of the Redstickers’ Tournament.
Mount Carmel (25-2 record) had won its first four tournament games before losing to 19-1 St. Joseph. The two split their earlier matches.
Salesian Brother Adam Dupre watches the scoreboard clock as he replaces a broken chin strap on the helmet of Archbishop Shaw defensive lineman Raymond Guillotte during a recent football game against Higgins. Brother Adam, a religion teacher at Shaw, serves as an assistant in three varsity sports. He and a student trainer made the rapid repair without much divine intervention.