Edna Karr, Warren Easton square off again for trip to ‘Dome
You could see it coming.
After Karr whipped Warren Easton 40-6 on Nov. 2 at Tad Gormley Stadium in a game seen live at CrescentCitySports.com, a look ahead reflected that the two rivals could and likely would see each other again.
The inevitable occurs this Friday night when top-seed and defending Class 4A state champion Karr hosts fourth-seed Warren Easton at 7 p.m. at Behrman Stadium.
You can listen to the game live as part of The Original Prep Football Report on WGSO, 990 AM, at WGSO.com, on WSLA, 1560 AM and on WUBR, 910 AM in Baton Rouge, as well as other stations on The Original Network.
The rivalry is a good one but it has been largely one-sided.
Karr has won nine of the 10 matchups since 2007. The lone win for the Eagles was a 40-14 victory in 2015.
The two programs are a virtual mirror image.
That is because of the deep ties to Karr for so many involved.
Warren Easton head coach Jerry Phillips was a star player at Karr in football and basketball, winning state championships in both sports.
He brought his nephew, former Karr quarterback Munchie Legaux, with him when he got the head coaching position at Warren Easton, hiring Legaux away from the Cougars and current head coach Brice Brown.
As for Brown, he is a former Karr star as well, graduating in 2004.
Both players played under legendary coach Don Wattigny, their mentor, at Karr. Wattigny will provide color commentary on the game broadcast Friday night.
“I am proud of both Brice and Jerry,” Wattigny said. “They were great players and they are great coaches and persons. We worked very hard to establish a good football program steeped in preparation and discipline and they have continued that in their programs today. That is why they are so successful.”
For good measure, the similarities even cross over into school colors, with purple and gold sure to permeate the landscape Friday night.
“They are very similar to us,” Brown said. “We came from the same background and the same teaching. They know everything we do, what we run, and we know what they do, what they run. This will come down to execution and who wants it more. I know they will be motivated. We have to match their intensity but we will be ready.”
After taking a beating in the first matchup, Phillips watched the video and then moved on quickly. Easton has played perhaps its best football since the loss.
“We learned that we have to be better up front,” Phillips said. “They are a sound, physical football team. If you do not match their physicality and stand up to them, you will not beat them. I believe we are capable of doing so, of playing better.”
In last week’s 43-6 victory at 12th-seed Woodlawn, Phillips surprised many by starting senior Joe Edwards at quarterback over junior star Lance Legendre, who did play in the second half.
“Joe is a good player who started for us a couple of years ago,” Phillips said. “He could be a star player for many teams.”
While Legendre, who is not known to be injured, is expected to start against Karr, Philips was coy when asked about it.
“We may play three quarterbacks Friday night,” quipped Phillips.
Legendre has completed 114-of-192 passes (59%) for 2,176 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions while rushing 69 times for 449 yards and 10 scores. Edwards has completed 35-of-53 passes (66%) for 745 yards and nine touchdowns with no interceptions while rushing for a pair of scores.
Senior Larry Barabino is the top rusher with 112 carries for 665 yards and eight touchdowns while junior Dewitt Clayton has 81 carries for 533 yards and two scores. Senior Sheldon “Sticks” Jones has 52 receptions for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior Yo’Heinz Tyler has 26 catches for 621 yards and eight touchdowns. Junior Kiaeem Green has 19 receptions for 346 yards and three scores.
Senior Damien Tate, whom Phillips calls his best overall player, has 20 catches for 589 yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver, three interceptions as a defensive back and two blocked kicks on special teams. Senior defensive lineman Khyran Givens is the leading tackler with 39.5 stops, including 10.5 for loss.
Senior quarterback Skylar Perry leads the Karr attack. Perry has completed 110-of-190 passes (58%) for 1,845 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has rushed 96 times for 666 yards and 11 scores. The junior running back tandem of Ronnie Jackson and Ahmad Antoine has been outstanding for the Cougars. Jackson has 133 rushes for 922 yards and 16 touchdowns while Antoine has 118 rushes for 911 yards and 12 scores. Senior Anthony Spurlock is the top receiver with 30 receptions for 758 yards and nine touchdowns while junior Michael Corner has 21 catches for 512 yards and seven scores.
Senior Kendell Johnson leads in tackles with 44.5 stops. Senior linebacker Sheldon Celestine has 69 tackles, including nine sacks and has a team-best three interceptions. Blue-chip junior defensive back Devin Bush has a pair of interceptions.
Rematch games are always difficult to navigate, particularly for the team that won the first matchup. Karr trailed rival McDonogh 35 in the third quarter of last year’s Class 4A semifinal in a rematch contest before rallying for a 26-14 victory en route to the state title. Karr had crushed the Roneagles 56-12in the regular season.
This year, Karr whipped Carver 35-6 on Sept. 22 before having to rally late to edge the Rams 40-35 in the second round of the playoffs.
“I think the experience we had in both of those rematch games will help us this Friday night,” Brown said. “Our players and coaches know it will never be the same as the first time. 35 and Carver were good teams and we knew they would play better and we would get their best shot. Warren Easton is better than they played the first time against us and we will get their best shot. We have to be ready to play and we will be.”
While Karr should be ready, the same is true for Easton. Despite losing by a large margin the first time around, the Eagles are confident heading into the rematch.
“I believe that if we play Easton football, play to our ability, no one can beat us,” Phillips said.
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