By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald
No other district rivalries pique the interest of prep football fans as do three games matching traditional Catholic League foes.
Jesuit and Holy Cross have played each other for 96 years, twice needing two games to decide which was the better.
Jefferson Parish’s Catholic school championship has been a duel between the archbishops – Rummel and Shaw – for more than 50 years.
And the “Battle for Gentilly” between neighborhood foes Brother Martin and St. Augustine has been waged since 1969.
And another Rivalry Weekend is upon us. So here are the storylines for the three games:
Holy Cross Tigers (4-0) vs. Jesuit Blue Jays (3-1)
Tad Gormley Stadium, Friday, Sept. 28, 7:15 p.m.
Head coaches: Mark Songy (31-32 at Jesuit); Guy Lecompte (4-0 in first year at Holy Cross).
Series: 99th meeting since 1922. Jesuit leads the series, 56-40-1 (one game was ruled no contest).
First series victories: Jesuit won the initial meeting in 1922 over Holy Cross’ first team, 32-0. Using a team laden with boarding students from Bay St. Louis in 1925, Holy Cross rolled over the Blue Jays, 45-0.
Last week: Jesuit defeated St. Augustine, 28-21; Holy Cross defeated Archbishop Shaw, 35-6.
Largest margin of victory: Jesuit, 72-0, in 1927; Holy Cross, 55-0, in 1948.
Consecutive series wins: Jesuit, 8 (1988-1994) under coaches Frank Monica, Danny Abramowicz and Mark Songy. Holy Cross, 5 (1948-1952) under coaches L.G. Friedrichs and Louis Brownson; (1965-1969) under coach John Kalbacher, and (1982-86) under coaches Henry Rando, L.J. Giambelluca and Vic Eumont.
Most successful coaches: Jesuit – G. Gernon Brown, 149-44-11 (1933-52); Holy Cross – John Kalbacher, 146-40-8 (1958-75).
State/Division titles: Jesuit, 8 (1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1953, 1960, and Division I title in 2014). Holy Cross, 2 (1945, 1963).
The game: Once again, this game will be part of the Great American Rivalry Series, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps. Each school will honor one of its legendary players. The series is the longest continuous rivalry in Louisiana high school football. The schools will celebrate their landmark 100th meeting in 2019.
Archbishop Rummel Raiders (3-1) vs. Archbishop Shaw Eagles (1-3)
Shaw campus, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m.
Head coaches: Jay Roth (222-60 at Rummel); Tommy Connors (1-14 at Shaw).
Series: 54th meeting since 1964. Rummel leads the series, 30-23. The two did not meet in 2005, 2008, 2011 or 2012.
First series victories: Rummel defeated the Eagles, 26-19, in 1964, two years before the two joined the Catholic League. Shaw defeated the Raiders, 7-0, in 1969 to snap a five-game series losing streak.
Last week: Rummel outpointed Teurlings Catholic, 42-31; Shaw lost to Holy Cross, 35-6.
Largest margin of victory: Rummel, 56-10, in 2017; Shaw, 49-20, in a 1997 playoff game.
Consecutive series wins: Rummel, 7 (2009-2017) under coach Jay Roth. Shaw, 14 (1986-1998) under coach Hank Tierney.
Most successful coaches: Rummel – Jay Roth’s 222-60 record (1995-2017) ranks among the best in Class 5A; Shaw – Hank Tierney (1983-2001) 154-80.
State/Division titles: Rummel, 2 (Class 5A in 2012, Division I title in 2013). Shaw, 1 (1987).
The Game: After 43 years of continuous meetings, Hurricane Katrina halted the series in 2005. While Rummel’s program continued to flourish in the post-Katrina years, Shaw was forced to play at a lower classification until 2013 when the LHSAA allowed schools to play up to Class 5A. Shaw rejoined the Catholic League that year, but has not posted a winning record since 2009, after playing in three consecutive Class 3A finals. Shaw’s last win over the Raiders came in 2007 by a 21-6 score. Shaw will be playing its second game in its new stadium, where the Eagles defeated Vandebilt Catholic, 23-3, two weeks ago.
St. Augustine Purple Knights (3-1) vs. Brother Martin Crusaders (2-2) Tad Gormley Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
Head coaches: Nathaniel Jones (3-1 in first year at St. Aug.); Mark Bonis (64-41 in ninth year at Martin).
Series: 50th meeting since 1969. St. Augustine leads series, 30-19. The two met twice in 1971 when the Crusaders defeated the Knights, 21-0, and did not play in 2005.
First series victories: St. Augustine defeated the Crusaders, 41-13 in 1970 after losing the initial game to Martin, 20-6, in 1969.
Last week: St. Augustine lost, 28-21, to Catholic League rival Jesuit; Brother Martin lost to John Curtis, 45-16.
Largest margin of victory: St. Augustine, 59-7, in 2012; Brother Martin, 41-0, in 2007.
Consecutive series wins: St. Augustine, 5 (1975-1979) under coach Otis Washington, and (1999-2003) under coaches Tony Biagas and Tyrone Payne. Brother Martin, 4 (2004-2008) under coaches Wayde Keiser and Jay Pittman.
Most successful coaches: St. Augustine – Tony Biagas (1986-2002) 131-57; Otis Washington (1969-1979) 106-30-1. Brother Martin – Bob Conlin (1970-1996), 202-99-4.
State/Division titles: St. Augustine, 3 (1975, 1978, 1979). Brother Martin, 1 (1971).
The game: The Crusaders will try to snap a three-game losing streak to the Knights. Since Hall of Fame coaches Conlin and Washington left, Brother Martin has had four head coaching changes, and St. Aug nine. The Purple Knights hold a 7-5 series lead in the post-Katrina years. In 1971, Brother Martin edged the previously undefeated Purple Knights, 7-0, in the final week of the season to force a first-place tie for the district title. Four weeks later, the Crusaders won convincingly, 23-0, for the state Class 3A championship. Perhaps the wildest battle came in 2015 when Coach Al Jones’ Knights outpointed their Gentilly rival, 47-44.