A few observations on early fall sports seasons

By Ron Brocato, Sports

As we move along to the third weekend of the 2017 fall sports season, a few things stand out:

(1) High school volleyball is as strong as ever, and (2) several of the traditional Catholic school football teams in “The League” will be scrounging for victories.

Like high school wrestling, Catholic school volleyball teams are the toast of that sport.

The 2016 Division I champion, Mount Carmel, may be stocked with young talent, but the Cubs haven’t lost their growl.

In winning eight of nine matches, they have lost just 3 of 25 games during that span. One was to Cabrini, a team that will spring some pleasant surprises for its fans this season.

St. Scholastica, a Division II semifinalist a year ago, has also started quickly by posting an 8-1 record.

And Pope John Paul II appears to be on its way to a possible fourth straight Division IV title. The Lady Jaguars have lost just once in an out-of-state tournament.

Ursuline Academy, the Division III runner-up, is off and running with a 5-0 record.

In one of the most exciting matches of the early season, the Lions outlasted the much-improved Academy of the Sacred Heart in five games, winning the last game, 20-18.

Dominican, which will host half of the mammoth Catholic League tournament this weekend, has a 6-3 record and will battle Archbishop Chapelle for the No. 2 spot in District 8-I behind Mount Carmel.

It’s difficult to tell how strong Division II St. Thomas More and Division III Teurlings are. STM has but a 1-1 record and Teurlings is 2-0, according to LHSAA statistics.

But my conviction holds that the Mississippi River shouldn’t be the dividing line when choosing East and West teams for the Coaches Association’s All-Star game. It should be Bayou St. John.

Less than stellar

District 9-5A … the Catholic League. What a downer.

With the exception of Archbishop Rummel and non-trad­itional member John Curtis, this once-mighty league will have to rise from the bottom of the football roller coaster.

Five historically solid football programs which trail the two preseason favorites have a combined  record of 2 wins, 8 losses!

Holy Cross and St. Augustine have won a game. Brother Martin, Jesuit and Archbishop Shaw have not yet seen a “W.”

Rummel has played just one game, a 31-0 win over Gulfport, Mississippi, and it has shown evidence that it’s the best of the local 5A Catholic schools.

Three other programs stand out as potential division champions.

De La Salle has won its first two games by a 77-19 margin. The Cavaliers, who outclassed St. Augustine 38-12 in the first prep game at Yulman Stadium, will have a stern test this week against the reigning Class 4A champion Edna Karr (2-0 with wins over Landry-Walker and St. Paul’s).

St. Charles Catholic, also 2-0, stunned River Parish communities by its 24-8 pasting of Destrehan. And the Comets pulled off the victory against a Class 5A opponent without senior quarterback Lloyd Nash, who suffered a fractured collarbone in a 29-0 win at Chalmette.

St. Paul’s can always be counted on to have a successful season. The 42-23 loss to Karr was hardly a setback for the Wolves, who dismantled Jesuit, 31-6, a week later.

When district play opens in two weeks, you can expect to see St. Paul’s at the head of the class.

Northshore rivals Archbishop Hannan (2-0) and Pope John Paul II (1-1) will meet in Slidell. Both teams are playing well and look forward to this game.

So, there is good football being played around town. It’s just not in the Catholic League.

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

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