Tim Rebowe seems to have found the winning combination of athletes, bolstered by 23 who played high school football at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, to lead his Nicholls State football team to another productive season in the Southland Conference.
Because of the 91 players returning and the acquisition of a some fine, young talent, optimism runs high in the Bayou Lafourche community of Thibodaux as the Colonels readied themselves for a trip to Lawrence, Kansas, and a meeting with the host Jayhawks on Saturday.
Rebowe has focused much of his area recruiting on New Orleans Catholic schools, as the roster indicates. He’s seen that as a blessing of well-prepared athletes to help him get a leg up on his program’s peers at McNeese, Southeastern, Northwestern and Louisiana College.
Six are graduates of Archbishop Rummel, five come from De La Salle, four from St. Charles Catholic, two from Holy Cross, Brother Martin and Archbishop Shaw and one each from St. Augustine and Jesuit.
“New Orleans is a great city and has lots of talented players,” the coach pointed out. “And the Catholic League has had a storied tradition for years and years.”
And playing for Nicholls State has been a good fit for players who may not be considered potential D-I All-Americans.
But don’t try to sell that to Kansas’ head coach Dave Beaty or to Willie Fritz, whose Tulane team hosts the Colonels on Sept. 8. They can point to a Saturday night in Athens, Georgia, when Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade (from Rummel’s state second championship team) nearly handed the Georgia Bulldogs a shocking defeat.
Four players whom Rebowe’s staff recruited from the New Orleans Catholic schools were on that 2016 Nicholls team that barely lost, 26-24.
‘“A lot of (Catholic school) players who come here are a great fit, and it’s a win-win situation for them and us,” Rebowe said. “I’m glad we are finally able to get some of these guys out of the city and to recognize what we are doing here.
“And hopefully, we can continue that tradition.”
There will be plenty from which to choose, coach.
Ron Brocato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org