Glorified second round of Catholic League play kicks off playoffs

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Buddy Taylor
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

The glorified second round of Catholic League play begins Thursday.

It is an annual ritual.

Division I consists of just 12 schools and only 11 are participating in the playoffs with McKinley opting out of competing.

The result is a bunch of rematches and potential rematches among the seven members of District 9-5A.

Those begin Thursday when No. 8 St. Augustine (4-4) hosts No. 9 Archbishop Shaw (3-5) at 7 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium. You can watch the game live on CrescentCitySports.com.

The two rivals played just two weeks ago on Oct. 30 with the Purple Knights winning 21-9 at Tad Gormley.

The Eagles are well rested, having been idle a week ago while St. Augustine is coming off a 45-37 shootout victory over Holy Cross.

In the first meeting, Shaw took an early 7-0 lead on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown but simply could not move the ball with any consistency. The Eagles are dealing with injuries offensively.

“The last time we game planned was for St. Aug after having a bye,” Connors said. “It has the feel of playing them back-to-back. I think both teams are better than their record and capable of playing well. We feel if we play well, we have a chance. We have to block better and execute better. We played well on special teams last time but not well enough in the other two phases.”

Carl Singleton had a solid game, rushing 23 times for 112 yards and a touchdown for the Purple Knights in the first meeting.

“We’re laughing about it but it’s a reality playing everyone again,” Foster said . Last game, they had us on the ropes with a blocked punt and a safety. They controlled field position. When you go against Shaw, they are going to be well prepared. We are not taking them lightly. We have lost a few players to injury but everyone has to deal with that. This is the SEC West. You have to durable.”

The game was the final Catholic League game for the Eagles for quite some time as the school has announced a decision to move down to 4A classification beginning next season for two years.

The winner advances to play top seed Catholic of Baton Rouge.

In another rematch, No. 7 John Curtis Christian (4-3) hosts No. 10 Holy Cross (3-5) Thursday night at Joe Yenni Stadium.

The Patriots defeated the Tigers 39-20 on Oct. 22.

John Curtis built an insurmountable 33-point third quarter lead in the previous matchup.

Special teams play was huge in the first game as Javon Soudmire-Davis returned a pair of punts for touchdowns and he added two interceptions in a brilliant performance.

Pat LeBranch rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns to pace the offense for Curtis. Eli LaFrance rushed for 72 yards and a score for the Tigers.

“I am not a fan of the split but if you have to play someone, you play them again,” Holy Cross coach Nick Saltaformaggio said. “If you’re going to play someone, it might as well be with the pedigree of Curtis. If you pull a miracle upset, it would elevate your program. We’re playing a great program. We will give them everything we have and play as hard as we can. I think we’ve improved.”

The Patriots will be on a short week after losing 41-12 to Brother Martin last Saturday.

“I think it is an unfair situation for all,” Patriots coach J.T. Curtis said. “The kids get cheated from playing other teams in the state. Of course you could play a district opponent in the playoffs but we do that every year. I’m sorry for the kids. I think both teams will be well prepared on a short week. We certainly know each other well. We’re starting over. Whatever happened three weeks ago does not matter.”

The winner advances to play No. 2 seed Jesuit in what will be another District 9-5A matchup.

The third leg of the unofficial second round of District 9-5A play continues Friday night when No. 6 seed Archbishop Rummel hosts No. 11 Brother Martin at 7 p.m. at Joe Yenni Stadium.

Also Thursday night in Class 4A, No. 27 Tioga (3-7) plays at No. 6 Huntington (8-2).

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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