Hurricane Ida: How high schools fared, when football teams plan to play

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South Lafourche damage

When will greater New Orleans area high schools play football in 2021?

Thanks to Hurricane Ida’s wrath, it is a multi-faceted question.

So much depends on so many different tiers of the equation.

First, what kind of damage did schools and school facilities and stadiums suffer?

Next, when will power be restored to those schools?

Then, when will schools reconvene in person?

Finally, when will schools get their students and even their teachers back who relocated during Hurricane Ida?

One game will be played as Bogalusa will play its annual rivalry at Franklinton at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Lumberjacks were dealing with COVID-19 issues and held their first practice since their scrimmage with Landry on Saturday. They are back now and will play Friday night at 7:30 p.m. as Franklinton has power at its stadium and on campus.

“We had some trees down and a little damage but no serious damage and no flooding but about 90 percent of our community is without power,” Bogalusa coach Cyril Crutchfield said. “We have power at our school because the nearby hospital is on the same grid so we are fortunate.”

“We are excited to have the opportunity to play and continue our great rivalry with Bogalusa,” Franklinton coach Jonathan Barber said. “We have power and the facilities are in good shape. We know it will mean a lot to both communities to see our kids playing.”

One other game in a storm-affected region will be played but on a different date.

A second game in the area is set to be played as well as Pine will host Varnado Saturday at 7 p.m.

Patterson will play its season opener at West St. Mary on Monday night, Sept. 6 at Baldwin. The game was originally scheduled for this Friday night.

In District 6-5A, Booker T. Washington was scheduled to play at Slidell but that game is off. Week two at Harrison Central is canceled as well.

“If we are able to get started by week two, we will try to find someone else to get a game,” Slidell coach Malter Scobel said. “We hope to play by week three, for certain, with Rummel.”

Covington coach Greg Salter says his school and community made out as good as could be expected.

“I’ve been told the school and stadium are okay,” Salter said. “Broadmoor had already forfeited to us week one. We are hoping to play week two at home against Franklinton as they are playing this week. Of course, we need electricity and to get kids back. We would love to see our kids get as many games as possible.”

Fontainebleau was not scheduled to play at home due to stadium construction until week five.

“I made it to school early this morning and the school seems to be fine, outside of minor issues,” Fontainebleau coach Chris Blocker said. “The area around the school is a bit of a disaster with trees everywhere. We are hoping to play soon. We just want to get back to playing games by week two with Walker or week three with Franklinton.”

Hammond was hit very hard by the storm.

“Things are pretty bad around school,” Hammond coach Dorsett Buckels said. “The school is in pretty bad shape but we will get through it. The stadium has wind damage with things blown everywhere with power lines down and the school has damage. It is pretty tough in the community. We have no idea about when we may be able to play.”

Northshore made out well overall, according to coach Bobby Sanders.

“We had a little damage in the front part of the school and in the field house and had a few pieces of turf come up at the stadium but those are already back in place,” Sanders said. “We are told power is coming back on in parts of Slidell. We need to get players back. We hope to play week two against Salmen.”

Ponchatoula was hit extremely hard by the storm.

“I am driving back from Brookhaven, Mississippi from washing our uniforms from our jamboree,” Ponchatoula coach Hank Tierney said. “The town is bad but the school is okay. I have been there twice. The stadium is fine. It is a question of power. We cannot practice until school is in session. I’m optimistic we can play week four for district play and we hold out hope to play Brother Martin week three.”

St. Paul’s survived the force of the weather well.

“We are waiting for power to come back,” St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears said. “No buildings were hit on campus. One tree hit a bus in the parking lot and another busted a fence on the track but there is no damage to the classrooms or the stadium. We will try to play week two, if we can find an opponent since Jesuit is not likely to be able to play.”

In District 7-5A, the Destrehan community took on a large brunt of the storm and it shows, including at the school.

“It is rough but it could be a lot worse,” Destrehan coach Marcus Scott said. “The school is in bad shape. There is extensive roof damage to the school, based on pictures. It will be a process. Daniel Luquet (Hahnville) and I spoke about it Tuesday and it would be awesome to open a season week four against each other. So much has to happen.”

East St. John is in the hard hit community of Reserve and will not play for at least a few weeks.

Hahnville and the Boutte area suffered damage as well.

“We made out better than many others,” Luquet said. “We had one building in the middle of campus where the roof came off. Some windows blew out but the stadium looks good. Some fences are down and the goalposts are crooked. Our baseball and softball fields got destroyed. The goal would certainly be to play week four with Destrehan but that is not going to be easy.”

In District 8-5A, East Jefferson should have some sort of season after the storm hit Metairie in solid fashion.

“We stayed for the storm and lasted until Tuesday morning in Metairie,” East Jefferson coach Frank Allelo said. “I was told the school took a little damage. Perhaps by next Monday, our school system will start the process of when we can return. In my mind, the first week of district against Riverdale is a real possibility.”

John Ehret will miss a couple of weeks but will have a season.

“The school is fine,” John Ehret coach Reggie Rogers. “We hope to play week three or four against Shaw and West Jefferson. We definitely will not play week one or week two.”

At Bonnabel, coach Brett Bonnaffons said it is a mixed bag.

“The school looks fine on the outside,” Bonnaffons said. “We have kids all over the country and some whose homes were damaged and even destroyed. I’m hoping we can play district games but it will be starting over. It will be two weeks when we get back and then another couple of weeks to get ready to play.”

The same is true for Grace King.

“The school incurred some damage,” King coach Brian Glover said. “They are assessing it at this time and we are waiting on word on when we will be allowed to come back. We are finding out where all of our young men are and if any have left the area to enroll somewhere else. We would love to play at some point.”

Higgins is in decent shape but it will be some time before a game is played.

“The building is intact with a few minor roof issues,” athletic director Buddy Veillon said. “The baseball field suffered significant damage. We are trying to get in touch with kids to see where they are to make sure they are okay. That’s the biggest thing. Everything is on hold. I don’t see us doing anything until there is power. We hope to be playing by the time district play starts. That is the goal.”

Riverdale did well as a school but will not play soon.

“We don’t have much damage at the school, other than some small trees down,” Riverdale coach Kyle Walker said. “It is our second year as a head coach here that we are on hold. We are hoping to play by week three or four but October 1 is reasonable. Everyone must stay safe.”

West Jefferson fared well and should be back to operating sooner, rather than later.

“Everyone is saying that there is no structural damage at the school,” Buccaneers coach Willie Brooks said. “We just put new lights up two weeks ago. The stadium appears to be okay as well. We hope to be back on Tuesday and to possibly play Kennedy week two but week three with Carver is certainly possible.”

In District 9-5A, Archbishop Rummel suffered damage at the school.

“There is a lot of debris at the school,” Raiders coach Nick Monica said.

The gym has the roof peeled back a bit and Rummel has canceled its first two games. The earliest would be week three with Slidell while week four with Calvary Baptist may be possible. The real goal for Rummel is week five with district play.

Archbishop Shaw made out well.

“The school made out well with just one broken window,” Connors said. “When power comes on, we can start school right away. It looks like Joe Zimmerman Stadium made out well. We should be able to have a season hopefully as early as week three, but the issues are getting everyone back and about the ability of opponents to play. So much depends on so many issues.”

Brother Martin fared well, with no real damage to speak of at the school. Head coach Mark Bonis is hopeful that his team can get its season started soon, despite losing its week one game at St. Thomas More.

“We are thankful that our school appears to be in good shape,” Bonis said. “We are hopeful to get kids back to school as early as next Tuesday. At this point, we hope to be able to play week two at West Monroe if we can get power back and get kids back and practice next week. That is the goal but nothing is certain. If we can’t, we can’t. The most important thing is the safety of our families.”

Holy Cross athletic director Mister Kirkwood is playing a wait-and-see game to make plans.

“We will know where we are by Sept. 7,” Kirkwood said. “It could be earlier. We are waiting to assess the situation with coaches and our student-athletes. Obviously, we hope to have a football season for our young men but it is a fluid situation right now.”

Tigers coach Nick Saltaformaggio would love to play.

“If we can get back next week, get a couple of practices in and get enough kids back, we will play week two with De La Salle,” Saltaformaggio said. “If not, week three with Chalmette is realistic.”

Jesuit had a little damage to its chapel but the school is in good shape. The turf at John Ryan Stadium, where Jesuit practices, came up in spots, bubbling up, and some outside fences to the facility were damaged.

“I spoke with athletic director Dave Moreau Tuesday night,” Jesuit coach Ryan Manale said. “Realistically, we have a chance to get back to school next week and realistically, our best chance to start the season is week three against Riverdale. If we get back next Tuesday, it may not be out of the question to play St. Paul’s but if they find another opponent between now and then, we would understand.”

John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis is relieved that his River Ridge school survived the storm.

“We had some roof damage at the school but otherwise, we were fine,” Curtis said. “We caught the storm pretty good. The inside of the school held up. Our community got hit hard. We could possibly try for week two in Shreveport but getting enough kids and getting buses would be difficult. We will likely not be able to play until week three and we did not have an opponent then. We will try to find someone to play.”

St. Augustine is out for this week with McDonogh 35 but expects to have a season in the near future.

“Everything is intact at school,” St. Augustine Barrett Rey said. “We had a few windows blown in and minimal water on the floor but we are fine. We hope to get back next week after Labor Day. We certainly feel we can play by week three against Zachary to play football.”

In District 9-4A, outside of Franklinton, no one will play this week.

The school is fine at Lakeshore.

“All in all, we are okay,” Lakeshore coach Craig Jones said. “We have not spoken to anyone from the school board yet. We definitely will not play week one and likely will not play week two against Chalmette. I think week three is possible against Northshore while week four, from a personal perspective, would be the goal against Bogalusa.”

Pearl River came out of the storm in pretty good fashion compared to others.

“The school is okay with electricity returning,” Pearl River coach Mike Labourdette said. “The hope is that we may possibly return next Tuesday. We will not play next week when we are scheduled to host Thomas Jefferson. The stadium had a speaker blown down but everything else is in decent shape. We may play Pope John Paul II week two if Thomas Jefferson cannot play.”

At Salmen, there is fence damage but otherwise, it is fine. The Spartans will not play Amite week one.

“I don’t think the school board will approve us to play until most have power and we have to be responsible with our kids,” Salmen coach Eric Chuter said. “We hope to be practicing after Labor Day. We are hopeful to play Northshore, which would now be at Salmen, in week two but week three at home against Bogalusa is possible. If not, week four against Belle Chasse may be possible.”

In District 10-4A, Belle Chasse was spared this time around.

“Belle Chasse made out better than we did last year for Zeta,” Cardinals coach Stephen Meyers said. “Our school made out well and the stadium is fine. We are waiting to get electricity to start practicing. We hope to play as early as week two if we can get an opponent, certainly by week three. We just want the kids to be able to play. They lost games last year.”

Helen Cox survived the storm well in Harvey.

“So far, everything is good,” Helen Cox coach Emanuel Powell said. “Of course, we need to get power back. It may be a week or two. We canceled our game tomorrow with Ellender. Realistically, we may be able to play week three with M.L. King Charter.”

Karr’s game with Madison Prep is off as is Landry’s game at St. Paul’s.

Karr coach Brice Brown is still determining who is in the city and who evacuated among his players. There is no official word on the status of Behrman Stadium but the area did not have substantial damage.

In District 11-4A, Carver made it through the weather in decent shape.

“Of course, we canceled week one with St. Amant,” head coach Byron Addison said. “Of course, we have no power and we are waiting to see when we can get back. Maybe we can play by week three with West Jefferson.”

John F. Kennedy, a newer construction, held up well.

“I think our school is okay,” Elpheage said. “I would assume our best shot is to play by week three or week or four. I feel bad for this seniors. It happened last year to those seniors.”

McMain came out of things in good shape.

“There was no water in the school and tree branches in the street but there is no structural damage to the school,” McMain coach Shan Williams said. “We are likely looking at being able to play week three with Booker T. Washington.”

Warren Easton coach Jerry Phillips said the school made out well, with minimal damage.

“Our family is good,” Phillips said. “Our players are spread across the southeast. Our administration feels we can be back in school in three weeks but that obviously depends on power returning. We will likely cancel more than week one, as a result. We’re just happy everyone is okay and we hope to start a season within the month.”

In District 10-3A, at Douglass, there is minor wind damage and head coach Corey McCloud said it is simply a matter of when power can be restored.

“We are waiting on guidance from NOLA public schools,” McCloud said. “If I had to guess, it will be week three or week four before we play. We are just prayerful for so many in our coaches fraternity. It is a real brotherhood.”

Booker T. Washington head coach Wayne Reese Jr. is optimistic about school resuming and a season starting in the near future.

“Hopefully, we can start our season in the next couple of weeks,” Reese said. “St. Amant, our week two opponent, was hit hard. We hope to play as early as week three with McMain or week four with Washington-Marion. Our school made out fine. It is a brand new building so new construction helped. I have been contacting our kids, our number one concern. Most evacuated to the Houston area.”

At McDonogh 35, the school is in good shape, according to head coach Frank Daggs.

“I was able to get to school and everything is fine, fortunately,” Daggs said. “Realistically, if we get power, we may be able to play week three against Bonnabel and certainly week four against Carver. Quite a few of our kids did stay in town so we can get them back to school quickly.”

M.L. King Charter is hoping for a week three or week four return.

“We are waiting to see when they let us back in the city and back in school,” King coach Joe Riley said. “I know week one or week two are definitely out. We are playing it by ear. We think Helen Cox week three would be quite possible. Week five is big against Warren Easton. That would be huge for the program. The school is fine.”

At Sophie B. Wright, the school is in good shape and coach Ken Dorsey said the school will get back as soon as allowed. The Warriors already received a forfeit victory for week one against Collegiate of Baton Rouge.

“I am assuming we are out against Jefferson Rise week two and we hope to play week three against Cohen,” Dorsey said. “The concern is getting our kids back. It reminds me of when I was in high school during Hurricane Katrina. We had to relocate and never came mind.”

Abramson Sci Academy will not play its first two weeks, canceling games against Ascension Catholic and East Jefferson. The Commodores may or may not be able to play week three against Livingston Collegiate. Coach Jerron Wishom said the goal is to play that week or week four at Dutchtown.

“We have kids scattered all over,” Wishom said. “Our facilities made out pretty well. We are not sure about Joe Brown Stadium.”

In District 11-3A, De La Salle coach Graham Jarrott said the school made it through the storm in solid shape but the issues are getting players back in town, getting power and getting the school open. Jarrott said the goal is for the Cavaliers to play by week three against St. Charles Catholic but the hope is to play week two against Holy Cross.

“We certainly want to play as soon as possible,” Jarrott said. “So many have been impacted. We feel we will certainly have a season and will work to make that happen but so much depends on others. We are in prayer for all of our brethren who suffered loss.”

Haynes Academy suffered damage to its gym roof.

“The majority of our team evacuated,” Yellow Jackets coach Ben Powell said. “As soon as we get the green light, we will return to practice. Once we come back, hopefully in a week or so, we will seek other games if opponents cannot play.”

Kenner Discovery, with a brand new campus and building, fared very well with no visible damage.

“We hope to be able to get everyone back and possibly play as early as week three against Grace King,” Swamp Owls coach P.J. Sprunk said. “We have kids in different areas, up to seven or eight different states. Some has severe home damage and losses. We pray for them all. We must take care of life first before we get to football.”

Thomas Jefferson coach Kenny Bush believes his team will play at some point.

“We have a few kids out of town but many are still home,” Bush said. “It’s difficult right now. Some are still trying to leave. I’m hoping we can play week three with Pope John Paul II. We still have not hear anything about school.”

In District 9-3A, all games are off for this weekend and beyond as the river parish and bayou area were each hit hard.

“I was able to go do a walk-through to see where we are,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said. “We lost part of the scoreboard and have to get the goalposts repaired. We probably lost some lights but the poles were still intact. Our baseball field is completely destroyed. There school has roof damage to the school with leaks. The roof failed on our old field house. We hope to play by week three against Douglass.”

Things are tough in the Vacherie and Gramercy area as well.

“St. James parish got hit very hard and there is structural damage,” St. James coach Robert Valdez said. “We haven’t gotten a full report on the school yet. Several people have told me it isn’t terrible but we have not gotten a full assessment. We hope to get back to school by next Tuesday but that is up in the air due to whether there is power or not.”

St. James hopes to play by week three or four but the issue is that the opponents were hit hard as well.

In 10-2A, Northlake Christian and Pope John Paul II are out this week but hopeful of playing in the following week or by week three.

“The school is still out of power but the feeling is we will be back next Tuesday,” Jaguars coach Phillip Pigott said. “There was not too much flooding in the city and it wasn’t too bad in Eden Isles, where I live. It looks like the school and stadium did okay. We are shooting for week two against Pearl River to play.”

At Northlake Christian, there are some trees down and some damage to the baseball field but the stadium and school are fine, according to athletic director Nick Chetta.

“If we start school next week, we could possibly get back and get to school and play by week three against Varnado, if not earlier,” Chetta said.

Elsewhere in District 9-2A, Amite took the storm on the chin.

“There is no power and the aftermath is bad,” Amite coach Zephaniah Powell said. “The community was very hard hit. We cannot get to the school or stadium due to damage and debris so we have no idea about when football could be played.”

Independence got hit pretty hard as well.

“There is damage all around,” Shaffett said. “As a whole, the school is good. We have some roof damage and a few things. There was a little water in the field house. The scoreboard is down. We are hoping by next Friday, we can play Livingston Collegiate but we don’t know if they could play. Week three with Central Private is realistic.”

Springfield coach Ryan Serpas said the storm did extensive damage to the school’s community.

“I spoke to our principal and he said it would be a week or more before we can try to get back but I am told that the area is devastated,” Serpas. “It is too early to speculate about when we can play. We are hoping in a couple of weeks we can try to continue but that is debatable. Our numbers were already down and we’re not sure who can come back.”

St. Helena is in an area which suffered significant damage and head coach Brandon Mitchell said the school is closed until further notice and there are no plans for re-opening or playing football, at this time.

In District 11-2A, Cohen is hoping to play soon while waiting for direction.

“Obviously, we are out until further notice,” Cohen coach Derrell Martin said. “Right now, we are simply following the direction from our charter network. I’m hoping at least by week three, we will be able to play Sophie B. Wright.”

Jefferson Rise is starting its first varsity season under former Tulane star Trent Mackey this year and it appears they will play.

“The school is great with a little leak in the roof,” Mackey said. “Other than that, we should be fine. Hoss Memtsas Stadium looked fine, going by there. We were hoping to play this weekend but we would like to play next week against Sophie B. Wright. That may happen but if not, it would be week three with Rosenwald.”

Newman coach Nelson Stewart stayed home during the storm and feels fortunate.

“The school has minimal damage, just some fences down and minor flooding in the weight room” Stewart said. “Lupin Field is okay. We just got new turf. Next week will be tough with the power situation and needing to meet and practice in order to have a game. Week three with West St. John is the real hope. I think we will play.”

At South Plaquemines, the Hurricanes survived this hurricane.

“We are out until further notice,” South Plaquemines coach Lyle Fitte said. “There is some flooding nearby and no power. We will be out at least a couple of weeks. The school looks fine. I believe the football facility is fine. It looks like the earliest we could play is week three with Istrouma. I’m hoping for that.”

 

St. Charles Catholic is in the hard hit community of LaPlace. Comets coach Wayne Stein says there is a lot to be done to restore the entire city.

“Of the six major neighborhoods in LaPlace where most of our kids live, most of the houses are flooded” Stein said. “The athletic fields took some damage but we could possibly play there, just not at night as lights were damaged. Our school was thankfully spared. It is hard to believe but the community took a terrible blow. We plan on playing De La Salle week three but football takes a back seat right now.”

In District 9-1A, Country Day should be able to return to the field in a few weeks.

“Wenzel Field made out okay, other than part of a fence being down,” Country Day athletic director Mike McGuire said. “The school lost a couple of shingles but overall, we did really well. It is a matter of getting everyone back. Ascension Catholic, our week two opponent, got hit hard. We are hoping we can play week three with Episcopal. We hope to find out something next week.”

Riverside Academy coach Kevin Dizer says his school has made out okay but there is real concern with students in the Reserve and LaPlace area.

“We are making sure we know where the kids are,” Dizer said. “I think the school is okay, with a little bit of roof damage and a little water but I don’t think it’s too bad. I think we will be able to be operative pretty soon. Realistically, we hope to be back by week four against Southern Lab. Week five is quite possible.”

St. Martin’s Episcopal coach Frank Gendusa reports some positive news.

“I drove by Tuesday and we had some tree damage around the school,” Gendusa said. “I think we’ll be alright when power is restored. We are presently off until Tuesday after Labor Day. It looks like week three is the earliest possible game with Catholic Pointe Coupee but it depends on how they made out. It will be day-by-day. I can’t tell you how many former and current players have called to ask how I am. It is moving.”

At West St. John, the stadium sustained some damage but not as bad as it could have been.

“We will head back to Louisiana tomorrow,” West St. John coach Greg Johnson said. “The scoreboard is messed up and the turf at the stadium is messed up in certain areas and we are assessing the damage. The field house and coaches office is okay. We are trying to stay in touch with players to get them back. It will be tough playing before week three with Newman.”

**If a school is not listed, Crescent City Sports has not been able to reach that school or its coach. Please feel free to respond to info@crescentcitysports.com with any details.

Area games canceled:
Albany at Independence
Amite at Salmen
Archbishop Hannan at Chalmette
Ascension Catholic at Abramson Sci Academy
Assumption at Donaldsonville
Bonnabel at Destrehan
Booker T. Washington (NO) at Slidell
**Broadmoor at Covington (Covington declared winner by forfeit previously)
Brother Martin at St. Thomas More
Carver at St. Amant
Cohen at Jefferson Rise
Collegiate Academy at Sophie B. Wright
De La Salle at North Pike, MS
Denham Springs at Mandeville
Douglass at McMain
East Jefferson at Livingston Collegiate
Ellender at Helen Cox
Fontainebleau at Lakeshore
Grace King at Glen Oaks
Haynes Academy at Springfield
Higgins at J.F. Kennedy
Highland Baptist at Houma Christian
Holy Cross at West Jefferson
Istrouma at Kentwood
Jesuit at Woodlawn (BR)
Jewel Sumner at St. Helena
John Curtis Christian at Central Lafourche
John Ehret at East St. John
Landry at St. Paul’s
Live Oak at Loranger
Lusher Charter at Newman
Madison Prep at Karr
M.L. King Charter at Franklin
Morgan City at Berwick
Northlake Christian at Country Day
Northshore at Dutchtown
Patterson at West St. Mary
Pope John Paul II at Pearl River
Riverdale at Kenner Discovery
Rosenwald at Northeast
South Plaquemines at Belle Chasse
St. Augustine vs. McDonogh 35
St. Charles Catholic at Archbishop Shaw
St. James at Terrebonne
St. Martin’s at Ben Franklin
St. Thomas Aquinas at Hamilton Christian
Tara at Hammond
Thibodaux at Lutcher
Thomas Jefferson at Riverside Academy
University Lab at Archbishop Rummel
Vandebilt Catholic at E.D. White Catholic
Walker at Ponchatoula
Warren Easton at Navarre (FL)
West St. John at Hahnville

UPDATE: New games for week 1 have been scheduled to replace canceled contests.

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