Shaw celebrates stadium opening with first win in two years
MARRERO – You could smell the shrimp and jambalaya in the background with a festival taking place on campus all morning and afternoon.
For years, Archbishop Shaw has enjoyed a campus with perhaps the most green space of any school in the metropolitan area. For years, the school and its alumni have dreamed and efforted at building a football stadium.
Saturday, the dream became a reality and the guys in green celebrated the official opening of their football stadium with a convincing 23-3 victory over Vandebilt Catholic in Marrero in a game seen live at CrescentCitySports.com and heard live on WGSO, 990 AM.
On a day where the temperature reached 94 degrees in the middle of the game, fans were cooked before they enjoyed the cooking on campus but it was worth it as the Eagles cooked up a winning recipe.
The victory is the first for Archbishop Shaw since the Eagles a 20-7 victory over Belle Chasse on Oct. 14, 2016. The win snapped a 17-game losing streak.
The Eagles started well, taking the opening kickoff and driving 66 yards in seven plays with Patrick Leonard kicking a 32-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 8:24 to play in the opening quarter.
Shaw had a chance to add to the lead after Miles Haney blocked a punt and the Eagles got the ball at the Vandebilt Catholic 11-yard line. Shaw incurred a holding call and Leonard missed a 41-yard field goal.
The Terriers responded with a 16-play drive and reached the Shaw 10-yard line but Baron Miles sacked Emile Armand and Reid Bourg missed a 40-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
The Eagles later pinned Vandebilt Catholic back to its own 10-yard line, forced a punt and took over at the Terriers’ 41-yard line.
On fourth-and-10 at the 30-yard line, Tyler Nichol connected with Ashton Johnson on a 30-yard touchdown on a go route and the Eagle increased the lead to 10-0 with 14 seconds to play in the half.
Vandebilt Catholic forced Shaw back to its own six-yard line, took advantage of a good punt return by Brennan Patterson and Bourg connected on a 37-yard field goal to make it 10-3 with 2:48 to play in the third quarter.
The Eagles answered in demonstrative fashion, driving 73 yards in just four plays with Nichol hitting Johnson with a 33-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-3 with 1:35 to play in the third quarter.
Shaw put the game away with an outstanding defensive play when Haney recovered a fumble and returned it 18 yards for a score to make it 23-3 with 2:48 to play in the game.
“It’s a blessing,” Haney said. “It’s been so long. We practiced all those hours. All that hard work has finally paid off. It feels great. It was great to score a defensive touchdown. That is what you dream of. I saw the ball and was able to make the play. I’m blessed.”
The euphoria on the home side as the final horn sounded was audible, noticeable.
“There’s no better feeling than this feeling,” Shaw head coach Tommy Connors said. “The losing streak happened but that doesn’t change the way you approach the game, that doesn’t change anything. The kids earned the victory. We controlled the ball well, we made plays on defense, we made plays on offense. This was a great way to open up a brand new stadium. We’re excited about it..”
Connors was particularly pleased with how his team handled the stifling conditions.
“Their ability to play at high noon when it was hot, with no wind, was special,” Connors said. “They gave great effort for four quarters and that is what they needed to do. They stepped up and played hard. We had guys breathing heavy but they played hard throughout. Our offense took what the defense gave us. The receivers made plays, the running backs got first downs when we needed them.”
Shaw (1-2) held Vandebilt Catholic (1-2) to just 11 yards rushing. Nichol completed 8-of-17 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Senior Ashton Johnson caught three passes for 74 yards and two scores. Rayon McGrew rushed nine times for 57 yards for the Eagles.
Armand was 7-of-14 for 69 yards with two interceptions before Max Doyle relieved him and went 12-of-15 for 91 yards.
The Eagles open District 9-5A play next Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium against Holy Cross while Vandebilt Catholic opens District 7-4A play at home against South Terrebonne.
The new stadium produced a new feeling for the Eagles.
“It feels like a new beginning,” Connors said. “I like the feeling.”
No doubt the food was delicious afterwards.
Shaw 3 7 7 6 — 23
VC 0 0 3 0 — 3
Shaw—Patrick Leonard, 32-yard FG 3-0 Shaw at 8:24
Shaw—Ashton Johnson, 30-yard pass from Tyler Nichol (Patrick Leonard kick) 10-0 Shaw at :15
VC—Reid Bourg, 37-yard FG 10-3 Shaw at 2:48
Shaw—Ashton Johnson, 33-yard pass from Tyler Nichol (Patrick Leonard kick) 17-3 Shaw at 1:35
Shaw—Miles Haney, 18-yard fumble return (kick failed) 23-3 @ 2:48
Shaw 7 for 53 yards
VC 8 for 69 yards
Rayon McGrew 9 carries for 57 yards
Blake Billiot 12 carries for 35 yards
Austin Billiot 4 carries for 3 yards
Tyler Nichol 1 carry for 2 yards
Tyler Nichol 8-of-17 for 149 yards and 2 TD’s, 1 INT
Ashton Johnson 3 catches for 74 yardsd and 2 TD’s
Jacob Guidry 2 catches for 47 yards
Christian Jourdain 2 catches for 29 yards
Jace Weileman 1 catch for –1 yard
Dres Rios 13 carries for 19 yards
Max Doyle 3 carries for 15 yards
Hunter Porche 1 carry, -4 yards
Emile Armand 7 carries for -19 yards
Emile Armand 7-of-14 for 70 yards, 1 INT
Max Doyle 12-of-15 for 92 yards
Jules Weaver 7 catches for 56 yards
Ja’Corey Wells 4 catches for 41 yards
Hunter Porche 2 catches for 20 yards
Cruz Theriot 3 catches for 33 yards
Parker Nunnally 2 catches for 12 yards
Drew Rios 1 catch for 0 yards
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…