Nine of 10 weeks in the 2019 regular season are gone, but the Catholic League title is still up for grabs.
Rummel took a stranglehold on the league with last week’s epic 21-20 overtime win over previously undefeated John Curtis, but no ties in the Catholic League means a loss to Jesuit would force a tie with the winner between John Curtis and Brother Martin.
Both of those matchups will be played Friday at 7 p.m. along with Shaw hosting H.L. Bourgeois in a non-district contest. St. Augustine and Holy Cross will close out league play as well as the regular season with a 2:30 p.m. meeting Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium in the Walk-On’s VSN New Orleans Game of the Week.
JESUIT (6-3, 3-2) VS. RUMMEL (9-0, 5-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Tad Gormley Stadium.
Notable: Jesuit showed just how deep the Catholic League is with the district’s fourth-place team knocking off previously undefeated Hahnville. The Blue Jays led 10-0 at halftime and extended that advantage to 17-0 on their first drive of the second half. They truly controlled the matchup from start to finish, and senior quarterback Grant Jordan led the Blue Jays once again accounting for 184 yards in the Blue Jays’ second straight win. Jesuit now sits at No. 5 in the LSHAA’s latest Division I power rankings, but they’ll likely just miss out on a bye in the first round trailing No. 4 John Curtis by over a full power point. Still, the Jays proved they can play with any team in the state and they will most certainly make Rummel earn a coveted outright Catholic League title Friday night.
Rummel proved its 8-0 start to the season was on joke as they knocked off nationally-ranked John Curtis in an epic matchup Friday night at Joe Yenni Stadium. The Raiders showed a ton of heart erasing a 14-0 halftime deficit, and struck first in overtime on a 10-yard touchdown completion to running back Logan Diggs before coming up with a huge stop on the Patriots’ attempted two-point conversion. Diggs proved to play a key role in Rummel’s victory with a big 34-yard run to set up their first touchdown before racing 25 yards early late in the third quarter to tie the score.
The vaunted Rummel defense came into the game allowing just one touchdown in eight outings, and they proved the unit is worthy the hype holding a Patriots squad that came into the night averaging 52.3 points per game to two touchdowns in regulation and another in the overtime period. Vanderbilt safety commit Donovan Kaufman was a man possessed recording 10 tackles while starting the second half with a big kickoff return that led to Rummel’s first points of the game. Former South Alabama commitment Jordon Williams was also a force from his defensive end spot totaling seven takedowns, and one of those came on a combined effort with junior defensive lineman Caboz Craig to end the game on the Patriots’ attempted two-point conversion.
Bottom line, this Rummel team is for real, and clawing back from down 14 demonstrated as much even if Curtis’ two-point attempt had been successful. The defense is an absolute joy to watch with playmakers all over the field, and this group has a serious chance to take this year’s Division I title. They head into Friday’s matchup as the No. 1 team in the LHSAA’s latest Division I power rankings, and a win over the Blue Jays with give them their first Catholic League title since 2015.
Pick: Rummel, 20-0.
JOHN CURTIS (8-1, 4-1) VS. BROTHER MARTIN (8-1, 4-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Tulane’s Yulman Stadium.
Last Week: John Curtis lost to Rummel, 21-20, in overtime at Joe Yenni Stadium. Brother Martin beat Holy Cross, 29-28, at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Notable: John Curtis came just inches away from keeping its unbeaten mark in tact as senior Shane Goins was stood up near the goal line on a two-point conversion that would have given the Patriots a victory. Curtis stormed out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter over Rummel, but their high-powered offense just couldn’t get going again against a historically great Rummel defense. The Patriots had their 23-game Catholic League win streak snapped in the process, and they’ll be a motivated group to say the least heading into Week 10. The 3-time defending District 9-5A champs are still in play for a share of the Catholic League title with a win and a Rummel loss to Jesuit, and they’re also in good shape to receive a bye in the opening round of the Division I playoffs heading into Friday with a No. 4 ranking.
You do not want to be the team facing John Curtis coming off a loss and Brother Martin is in that unfortunate position heading into Week 10. The Crusaders won’t be intimidated, though, and they showed a ton of grit overcoming a 28-7 deficit against a talented Holy Cross team to extend their winning streak to three games after a Week 6 loss to Rummel. Somewhat like Curtis, Brother Martin opted for a two-point conversion in a critical spot, but their’s was successful as senior running back Chris Smith plunged his way into the end zone with just over five minutes left for the Crusaders’ eventual margin-of-victory of 29-28. The win keep the Crusaders alive for a share of the Catholic League title, but they’ll have to defeat an ornery Curtis team while getting some help with a needed win for Jesuit over undefeated Rummel. But regardless of the outcomes Friday night, Brother Martin is in good position to earn a bye week in the first round of the Division I playoffs sitting at No. 3 in the latest power rankings.
Pick: John Curtis, 42-30.
SHAW (2-7) VS. H.L. BOURGEOIS (1-8)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Joe Zimmerman Stadium at Shaw.
Last Week: Shaw lost to St. Augustine, 20-0, at Tad Gormley Stadium. H.L. Bourgeois lost to Thibodaux, 49-14, at home.
Notable: Shaw’s struggles continued last week as they dropped their sixth straight game of the season. All of those have been in the Uber-competitive Catholic League, though, and the Eagles were competitive keeping themselves within two scores until a fourth-quarter score by the Purple Knights to put the game out of reach. The Eagles completed just two passes for minus-1 yard in the game, but a young receiving core led by freshman Michael Williams and sophomore Isaiah Barnes had multiple drops that thwarted any potential offensive success. The defense, however, tied their season-low in points allowed giving up just 20 points, and had three critical stops in the red zone including a forced fumble by senior Josh Ballay that was recovered by junior Blake Billiot. The Eagle defense should be able to produce a similar performance against H.L. Bourgeois while the offense has a chance to gain some confidence heading into their first-round matchup in Division I. Shaw is likely to stand pat at their current No. 11 ranking in Division I, which could yield a matchup against No. 6 Scotlandville, which heads into Week 10 at 6-3. The Eagles, first-round opponent is far from a sure thing, though, as the Hornets are just a few points away from No. 5 Jesuit, No. 7 Holy Cross and No. 8 St. Augustine.
Like Shaw, H.L. Bourgeois has a had a rough go of it in one of Louisiana’s top districts in 7-5A. The other six teams in the league have a combined record of 37-17 (68.5%), and all have picked up wins against the Braves by at least 28 points. Bourgeois’ only win of the season was a 46-42 victory over Ellender in Week 3, and this will assuredly be their last game of the season as they sit at No. 48 in the LHSAA’s Class 5A power rankings. They’ll certainly be motivated to close their season on a high note, but so will Shaw after suffering five straight defeats following a 2-1 start.
Pick: Shaw, 24-10.
ST. AUGUSTINE (5-4, 1-4) VS. HOLY CROSS (4-5, 1-4)
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Tad Gormley Stadium.
Last Week: St. Augustine defeated Shaw, 20-0, at Tad Gormley. Holy Cross lost to Brother Martin, 29-28, at Tad Gormley.
Walk-On’s VSN New Orleans Game of the Week Live Stream: St. Augustine vs. Holy Cross
Notable: St. Augustine had a bit more trouble with Shaw than expected, but this group is now notorious for playing up or down to their perceived level of competition. The Purple Knights played the league’s top two teams to their closes margins of victory in the district, which is a testament to just how talented St. Aug really is. They’ve gone through their fair share of turmoil, however, including the firing of their head coach midway through the season. They appear to be gaining some stability, though, under interim head coach Kenneth Dorsey Jr., who has maintained the Purple Knights’ fast-paced offensive attack while allowing the defense to continue its high level of play. The group forced a pair of turnovers last week against Shaw, and the special teams unit came up with yet another big play blocking punt that was recovered for one of St. Aug’s three touchdowns. The Purple Knights certainly had their chances to come away with an even more convincing win, but managed just seven points on their four trips into the red zone. Improving their production in that area will certainly be a focus for St. Aug as they look to head into the playoffs with a two-game win streak. They currently sit at No. 8 in the LHSAA’s latest power rankings, which is likely to produce a home-game matchup against No. 9 Byrd.
Holy Cross suffered a gut-wrenching loss surrendering 22 straight points to fumble away a 28-7 first-half lead. The Tigers appeared to be well on their way to knocking off a previously 7-1 Brother Martin squad, but couldn’t get their offense on track over the last 24 minutes after a fast start. Receiver Jalen Johnson was the catalyst to the aforementioned fast start with four plays of 50 yards or more, three of which were touchdowns including a 55-yard punt return. The junior is on a hot streak to say the least racking up 15 catches for 309 yards with a total of six touchdowns over the last two weeks against John Curtis and Brother Martin. The presence of 3-star receiver Tyler Kirkwood is likely contributing to Johnson’s success as Kirkwood has totaled just two catches for 85 yards over the last three weeks, but still leads the Catholic League in receiving with 711 yards and six touchdowns on 35 receptions. Johnson is now up to second in the league with 605 yards and a league-leading nine scores on 35 catches, and junior quarterback John Dade Wooton is District 9-5A’s top passers with 1,983 yards and 19 touchdowns to five interceptions while completing 127 of his 214 attempts (61.2%). Defensively, Holy Cross will be a motivated group as they feel somewhat responsible for last week’s loss, and they’ve been impressive throughout most of the season with the first-teamers allowing 20 points or more just three times this season. The Tigers are currently No. 7 in the latest LHSAA Division I power rankings, and are currently slated to take on No. 10 St. Paul’s in the first round.
Pick: Holy Cross, 24-16.