Surprise! Purple Knights not the district doormats
So, St. Augustine is the weak sister of the Catholic League, eh?
If that's so, the Purple Knights must be hard of hearing.
After two weeks of Catholic League (District 9-5A) play, the boys from A.P. Tureaud have proven the naysayers wrong, having beaten Jesuit and Brother Martin on consecutive weekends.
Sure, Jesuit is not the same flock of Blue Jays that won the Division I championship in 2014. Far from it.
But St. Aug, under “rookie” head coach Al Jones, had an 0-3 record when the Purple Knights defeated the Blue Jays, 32-20, on Sept. 25.
That had to be a confidence booster after successive losses to McDonogh 35 (26-20), Scotlandville (41-12) and Landry-Walker (13-8). Those opponents are hardly shrinking violets.
’35 is the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A ... Scotland- ville is among the top teams in Class 5A ... and Landry- Walker, despite its surprising loss to Chalmette in Week 4, is still co-favored with John Ehret to win the District 8-5A title.
These three have a combined record of 13-2. Both losses are on Landry-Walker's ledger.
Since district play has begun, there has been no stopping St. Augustine’s offense.
Led by young gun Justice McCoy, St. Aug sits at the top of the Catholic League with a 2-0 record following McCoy’s dismantling of a porous Brother Martin defense on Oct. 3.
In that “Rivalry Game,” McCoy riddled the Crusaders for 304 passing yards and another 130 scrambling yardage. Three hours, 21 minutes after the opening kickoff, St. Aug won the seesaw game, 47-44.
The Purple Knights’ next opponent is Archbishop Shaw, which is coming off a 49-14 loss to its archrival, Archbishop Rummel, on Oct. 3. That game will be at Tad Gormley Stadium on Oct. 10.
The other leader
Let’s not forget the district’s co-leader, Holy Cross.
Alternating two quarterbacks – a freshman and a senior – the Tigers defeated their archrival Blue Jays, 28- 21, in double overtime. It was the first time in 95 meetings that the game was not decided in regulation time.
Fourteen-year-old freshman quarterback Chandler Fields started the game and put the Tigers on the board first with a 9-yard TD pass to Andres Acuna in the first period.
Jesuit then used its size to push the Tiger defense around, and tailback Connor Pruitt used his blockers well to put the Blue Jays on top, 14-7, before halftime.
Head coach Eric Rebaudo called upon senior Kyle Schexnayder, who spent preseason and most of the early weeks recovering from a leg injury, to breathe life into the offense.
Schexnayder was equal to the task. Running himself on key downs, the senior led the Tigers on a 73-yard, 18-play drive that culminated in a short plunge across the goal line by Ashton Smith that led to a 14-14 tie with just 4:23 left in the game.
Jesuit’s last chance to re- take the lead failed when the Jays missed a 21-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left in regulation time.
Rebaudo went back to freshman Fields in the two overtime periods. He responded with touchdown passes to Bret Carter (11 yards) and Tyler Lamm (10 yards) to pull out the victory.
This Great American Rivalry Game drew upwards of 12,000 spectators. The count may have been higher. But the true number may never be known.
Jesuit athletic director Dave Moreau said that he gave Holy Cross (the home team) extra tickets above its allotment because Tiger fans bought every pre-sale ticket available.
For sure, the crowd was the largest of the season at Gormley.
199 and counting
For Archbishop Rummel coach Jay Roth, the magic number to reach win No. 200 is 1.
The Raiders had an easy time with rival Archbishop Shaw, beating the Eagles, 49-14, on Oct. 3.
The win sets up a game against district co-leader Holy Cross on Friday at Gormley.
Senior quarterback Chase Fourcade led the Raider rout of the Eagles by accounting for five touchdowns, three on his runs of 10, 2 and 38 yards. Two more were products of his 148 passing yards.
The 199th victory places Roth three behind Brother Martin great Bob Conlin as the Catholic League’s winningest coach.