Rivalry weekend: These are the games that mean most

Three football rivalries that collectively span 195 years will take place on Sept. 29-30, and regardless of what has transpired over the first month of the prep season, winning this one will be special to three of the six teams clashing in the annual Archbishop Hannan Classic.

This series allows the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) to raise funds for the competing high schools.

The games, which match Jesuit vs. Holy Cross, Archbishops Shaw vs. Rummel, and Brother Martin vs. St. Augustine, have the flavor of homecoming without a queen.

Holy Cross and Jesuit have been going at it every year since 1922 at Tad Gormley Stadium, which has been the home field to both schools since 1937. The two will toss the coin at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 29.

The following afternoon at 2 p.m. is the battle of the Archbishops. Rummel will host Shaw at Joe Yenni Stadium in  the second leg of the Classic.

Then it’s back to Gormley for a 7 p.m. “Battle of Gentilly” between Brother Martin and St. Augustine.

Jesuit vs. Holy Cross

These two, who first met in 1922 when Holy Cross fielded its first football team, have never failed to play each other.

The two have faced off 97 times in 95 years and became the first teams from the same district to play for a state championship in 1963.

Once again recognized as a Great American Rivalry Series game by the U.S. Marine Corps, this confrontation has lasted through 16 different Jesuit coaches and 19 Holy Cross mentors. (Mark Songy of Jesuit and Lou Brownson of Holy Cross each had two stints.)

Jesuit leads the series 57 wins to 38 for the Tigers, with two ties.

The most lopsided wins were 72-0 by Jesuit in 1927 and 55-0 by Holy Cross in 1948.

The longest winning streaks are eight by Jesuit (1987-94 under coaches Frank Monica, Danny Abramowicz and Songy) and five by Holy Cross (1948-52 under L.G. Friedrichs and Lou Brownson; 1965-69 under John Kalbacher, and 1982-86 under Henry Rando, L.J. Giambelluca and Vic Eumont).

The Blue Jays have won seven state championships (1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1953, 1960 and a Division I title in 2014). The Tigers have two titles (1945, 1963).

Holy Cross enters the game with a  2-2 record and a  recent 34-7 district win over Shaw.

Jesuit is 1-3 and fresh from a 37-24 loss to St. Augustine.

Jesuit will honor former quarterback Rick Chanove as its Legendary player. Holy Cross will honor former tailback Ken Hrapmann.

Shaw vs. Rummel

The two Jefferson Parish Catholic schools first met in 1964 when Coach Joe Galliano led Rummel to a 26-19 victory over Milt Gaudet’s Eagles. Both schools opened two years earlier.

Each school has won a state championship. Shaw’s came in 1987, and Rummel’s Division I trophy was won in 2013.

The series was even through 2007 until Rummel won the last six clashes to take a 29-23 lead.

The two did not meet in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. That absence snapped a rivalry that lasted 43 consecutive years.

They also did not play in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Through 53 years of fielding a football team, Rummel has had just seven head coaches, including its current mentor, Jay Roth, who’s in his 23rd year at the Raiders’ helm.

Former safety Tommy Connors is in his first year as Shaw’s head coach.

Its longest-serving coach was Hank Tierney from 1983-2001. His Eagles defeated Rummel 14 times to six defeats.

From 1986 through 1998, Shaw defeated the Raiders 13  consecutive times.

Rummel’s largest winning margin was 56-14 in 2014. Shaw widest margin was 42-14  and 49-20, both coming in 1997.

As the two prepare for the game, Rummel enters its 2017 Catholic League debut with a 3-0 record. Shaw seeks its first win of the season. Last weekend, the Eagles lost to Holy Cross, 34-7.

Br. Martin vs. St. Augustine

These two first met in 1969, Brother Martin’s first year as a high school and St. Aug’s third as a Catholic League member.

That year was the legendary Otis Washington’s first as the Purple Knights’ head coach.

A year later he and another legend, Bob Conlin of Brother Martin, began a rivalry that lasted through the decade of the 1970s.

During that time, Brother Martin won its only state title in 1971 over Washington’s Knights, 23-0.

But before Washington left the school at the end of the decade, he led St. Augustine to state championships in 1975, 1978 and its last to date in 1979.

Conlin coached the Crusaders for 27 years. He was the second of just six head coaches. Current coach Mark Bonis has the second-longest tenure of seven years.

St. Augustine holds a commanding 29-19 series record. Twelve wins have come under Tony Biagas, the Knights’ longest-serving head coach (1986-2002).

The widest victory margin for the Crusaders was 41-0 in 2007. St. Augustine answered in 2012 by routing its Gentilly rival, 59-7.

Al Jones, in his third year leading the Knights, is the  school’s ninth head coach since it joined the LHSAA in 1967. His team enters the game with a 3-1 record and a 37-24 district win over Jesuit.

Brother Martin is 1-3 and 0-1 in district play.

Ron Brocato can be reached at rbrocato@clarionherald.org.

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