Rummel, St. Aug to meet for third time in playoffs
In the Division I state playoffs, you can always expect rematches and plenty of them.
Last week, Jesuit played Archbishop Shaw for a second time and won for a second time. This week, Brother Martin faces Scotlandville for the fourth straight year while Jesuit has to face John Curtis Christian for a second time.
Then, there is the Catholic League rematch between Archbishop Rummel and St. Augustine at 7 p.m. Friday night at Joe Yenni Stadium.
You can listen to the game live at 106.1 FM NASH ICON and at www.nashfm1061.com as part of Ken Trahan’s Original Prep Football Report.
This will mark the third time that the Raiders and Purple Knights have faced a playoff rematch after a regular season district contest.
Rummel (10-0) is the top seed and Catholic League champion. That earned the Raiders a bye last week, which Rummel coach Nick Monica says helped his banged-up team heal a bit but warned it is a double-edged sword.
“It’s given guys some more rest, obviously,” Monica said. “The bye week is always scary when you are playing well. You kind of want to keep playing. We have to make sure we keep our edge.”
In each of the previous situations, the team that won the regular season matchup lost the playoff rematch.
In 1999, Rummel beat St. Augustine 34-16 in the regular season on the way to a Catholic League championship but the Purple Knights turned the tide and whipped the Raiders 23-6 in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
In 2013, St. Augustine defeated Rummel 35-21 in the regular season, earning the top seed in the Division I playoffs in the first year of the split between public and private schools in the LHSAA. In the state semifinals, the Raiders avenged the loss, beating the Purple Knights in a 31-28 thriller in route to winning a state championship the following week.
In the regular season meeting, Rummel had to move its home game from Joe Yenni Stadium to Hoss Memtsas Stadium at the last minute after power was out in Metairie following the arrival of Tropical Storm Olga.
The Raiders then had to overcome a storm created by St. Aug to rally for a 16-12 win.
Lightning struck as the Purple Knights jumped all over Rummel early, taking a 12-0 lead just 29 seconds into the game as Jaheim Walters returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown before Tahj Adams returned an interception 53 yards for a score.
Jaelen Sturgis brought the Raiders close with a 7-yard touchdown run before Corey Smooth made it 12-9 when he trapped St. Aug quarterback Kendell Sampson for a safety.
Rummel got the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 38-yard run by Logan Diggs.
St. Augustine (6-5) had three other trips into the red zone but the Raider defense turned the Purple Knights away on each occasion.
“We started very well the first time,” Dorsey said. “We had other chances to score and did not take advantage of them. We have to play a complete game to beat them. Rummel is a great football team. Coach Monica is doing a great job with them. They are the No. 1 defense that I’ve seen in the state. We have a big challenge this week.”
It has been a trying year for St. Aug as Dorsey took over at midseason after a controversy with the program as Nathaniel Jones stepped down.
“I’m very proud of them,” Dorsey said. “They’ve been through a lot this season and overcome a lot of adversity and bought in to what we were trying to accomplish. Our guys are just playing hard.”
“It was a tough game,” Monica said. “They jumped on us early. “We didn’t take the lead until late in the fourth quarter. We know it’s going to be tough. We need to be better on special teams as a whole, move the ball and get first downs and we need to play better on defense. Their skill is second to nobody. You have to line up and tackle some good skill guys in space.”
Junior quarterback Kyle Wickersham, who had not played in two years because of a hip injury, has stayed healthy and he has gotten better as the season has progressed.
“Keeping Kyle healthy has been a key,” Monica said. “He’s also a fabulous runner. Now, it’s time to turn him loose. Defensively, we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
With the best defense in Louisiana, Rummel has allowed just 45 points and four defensive touchdowns all season long but the Raiders will be facing a St. Augustine team that has scored 86 points in its last two games.
“We’re playing well on offense and we know how good their defense is,” Dorsey said. “It should be fun.”
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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…