Friendly, yet electric Holy Cross-Jesuit rivalry renews for 99th time Friday night

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NEW ORLEANS – While Mark Songy will coach in his 10th Holy Cross-Jesuit game Friday night, Guy LeCompte will coach in his first.

That may be the biggest difference in the 99th meeting of the Tigers and Blue Jays, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium. The game will be televised by CST and streamed by Crescent City Sports beginning at 7 p.m.

Both coaches spoke Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock n’ Bowl.

LeCompte, who serves as both head coach and athletic director at Holy Cross, has quickly been introduced  to the rivalry, which has been played every year since 1922.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be at Holy Cross,” LeCompte said. “it’s very friendly, warm and welcoming. The vision for the school is second to none. That was the big draw (for me).

“It’s a friendly rivalry, so much so that Jesuit’s athletic director (David Moreau) is even offering to take on the role I would take on next year (as district chair).”

The Tigers are 4-0, displaying a balanced offense engineered by quarterback Bryan Broussard and a stingy defense led by linebacker Tyler Grubbs. Holy Cross has won each of its games by at least 24 points.

“We’ve jelled,” LeCompte said. “I couldn’t ask for a better staff. A large part of the success we’re having are our coaches.

“Our kids, they bought in to everything we’re trying to implement. It’s not better or worse than before, but it’s different.”

Songy, who was the Blue Jays’ head coach from 1992-96 before returning to the school prior to the 2014 season, has watched the magnitude of the event grow each year.

“I’d like to thank the administrations of both schools for making this game what it has become,” Songy said. “Only in New Orleans can a parade break out into a football game.

“People ask me all the time, does the rivalry get in the way? I’m proud to say it does not. Our guys, especially this group of seniors, are very matter-of-fact guys. They treat each opponent with equal respect.”

Still, Songy knows the Holy Cross game is different.

“This week, it’s very electric,” Songy said. “If you haven’t been in the crowd, you’re missing something. It’s close to the atmosphere of a state championship.

“We’re looking forward to playing this week. Our guys, I feel like, are battle-hardened right now.”

Jesuit, led by quarterback Robert McMahon and defensive end Perry Ganci, is 3-1 after rallying to defeat St. Augustine Saturday night in the District 9-5A opener. Holy Cross is coming off a 35-6 victory over Archbishop Shaw Friday night.

“We face a Holy Cross team that’s 4-0 and should be 4-0,” Songy said. “They’re doing things well now. They know what they have to do.”

For the second straight year, Home Bank is the title sponsor of the game.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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