M.L. King Charter endures, wins inaugural game
Patience is a great virtue.
That virtue has tried many teams and coaches on the high school level over the past year and a half.
One program that has endured much and had to exercise patience is Martin Luther King Charter.
Expected to play in 2020 for the first time, the Jaguars did not get that opportunity.
The wait to finally play proved to be worth it.
Friday night, M.L. King Charter went to Baton Rouge and defeated Istrouma 20-7, overcoming a halftime deficit to win the inaugural game in the school’s football history.
Speaking on The Three Tailgaters Show on NASH ICON 106.1 FM Saturday morning, Riley could not conceal his enthusiasm.
“It was a really good experience and great for the kids and program,” Jaguars coach Joe Riley said.
Conjuring up memories of John Gilliam, on the anniversary of his 94-yard kickoff return for a score on the first play in New Orleans Saints history on Sept. 17, 1967 against the Los Angeles Rams at Tulane Stadium, the Jaguars emulated that feat to a perfection.
On the first play in program history, the opening kickoff, Leroy Page took it 98 yards for a touchdown to start the game to give M.L. King Charter a 6-0 lead.
Istrouma scored next to make it 7-6 at halftime.
The second half belonged to M.L. King Charter.
“We made adjustments in the second half,” Riley said.
M.L. King alternates a pair of sophomore quarterbacks.
Joseph Riley IV is the son of the head coach and plays significantly while Eric Cheneau is the second sophomore.
Cheneau ran and passed for scores in the second quarter.
Junior Kent’e Aquile caught the touchdown pass from Cheneau.
Justin Doyle rushed 25 times for 247 yards and played defense as well at linebacker and played well for the Jaguars.
“It was tough to start a program in the pandemic year,” Riley said. “I signed my contract last year on March 11 and the pandemic his on March 13. It was difficult. We had kids on wanted to play and waited to play. It kept coming together more and more. It was hard putting it together but it was worth it. I’m the head coach by God is controlling this program.”
Like any good coach does, Riley turned the page quickly on the big win.
“We left this game behind after last night,” Riley said. “We play South Plaquemines next and they are the best team on the schedule. We approach every game that way. Then, we face Warren Easton. They are loaded with talent. We will find out exactly what we will be able to do.”
Having a chance to finally play was an emotional experience for the Jaguars.
“It meant everything,” Riley said. “We were all extremely excited to play. The kids were happy and energized and it was great for the school, itself. A lot of times, your school is only as good as your football team. I was ecstatic. It was a great start. The kids did a great job to make plays and get stops. This is the start of something good.”
This could very well be the start of something good.
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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…