Crusader Football -€“ 5
"Dark Horse" Strikes

The 1947 St. Aloysius Crusaders won their first two games, 13-0 over Catholic High in Baton Rouge and 51-0 over new Prep league member Redemptorist in the first meeting between the schools.

  • That set the stage for the annual early season clash with Jesuit, the defending state champions who held a 17-1-1 margin in the series between the schools.
  • The Blue Jays had won two games against out-of-town opponents, Pensacola (19-0) and Baton Rouge (26-20).
  • The Times Picayune prep writer N. Charles Wicker opined, "From the way 'Wop' Glover's lads have performed in their two games ..., Gernon Brown's Jays might be in for a tough evening" on Friday, October 3. The prediction was on target.
Aloysius-Jesuit 1947
Lou Bravo 1947Dave Perret 1947Bobby Nuss
Lou Bravo, Dave Perret, Bobby Nuss
23,000 filled the horseshoe to see what Wicker called "one of the finest and most hard fought games ever played in City Park Stadium." The "dark horse" Saders outfought the Jays from the start.
  • All scoring came in Q2. Mire Thomas set up the Jay tally when he intercepted a Huey Bridges aerial and returned the ball 38y to the 8. From there, Jesuit's All-State TB Johnny Petibon (destined for Notre Dame and the Cleveland Browns) ran it over. Since the Carrollton Avenue crew lacked a kicker, Petibon also ran in the PAT. (No two-point conversion in those days.)
  • The Saints roared right back, taking the ensuing kickoff back to the Jay 47. From there, Nick Revon, Adolph La Place, and Lacey Aucoin moved the pigskin on the ground to the 8. From there, La Place raced around end to paydirt. On the extra point try, Bridges faked a handout to the right and sprinted around LE to tie the game.
  • Playing without Petibon, who was injured making a tackle on the SA scoring drive, Jesuit took the second half kickoff and drove all the way to the SA 19 where the Saint D held on downs.
  • The game stayed even until the closing minutes when Maurice "Moon" Landrieu, future Mayor of New Orleans and Presidential Cabinet member, intercepted Bridges' pass and returned it 5y to the Saint 34. On fourth down, Robert Chaney threw to Robert Andre for a first down at the 15. After losing 4y running against the stalwart SA front wall anchored by Lou Bravo, Dave Perret and Bobby Nuss, the Jays tried the airways again. After a third down incompletion, Landrieu connected with Montz who was stopped at the nine to preserve the 7-7 tie.

The use of first downs and then penetrations to break ties was not in effect that season. Despite the encouraging start, the Crusaders ended with a disappointing 4-4-1 record.

200th Win
Brother Martin-Jesuit 1995
Brother Martin-Jesuit action 1995

Nick Reggio in action
Nick Reggio kicking against Carver 1995

The 1995 Brother Martin Crusaders defeated Jesuit 10-7 in overtime to record the 200th gridiron victory in school history.
  • Late in the game, Nick Reggio missed a 64y FG attempt. It fell just short.
  • The Blue Jays lost a chance to win in regulation by dropping a TD pass.
  • In OT, Jesuit missed a FG on its possession.
  • Reggio didn't miss when he got the chance.

The victory ran the Sader record to 3-2. Unfortunately, Bob Conlin's second-to-last team would win no more games that year.

Brother Martin-Jesuit 1995 - 2
Mark Lamere and teammates huddle in prayer for a fallen teammate.
No Excuse for Skipping School
On Sunday, November 14, 1948, St. Aloysius defeated the Nicholls Rebels 27-13 before what Jerry Romig described in his Times Picayune article as "a slim crowd of some 5000" at City Park Stadium in the Crusaders' homecoming game that began at 8:15 pm.
  • A bad snap from center to punter Ray Weidenbacher set up the Saints on the Rebel 12 in Q1. From there, 140-lb junior QB Jim Christiansen passed to sophomore E Eddie Bravo for a 6-0 lead.
  • Right before the half, Christiansen, expected to be the key to the SA offense in '49, faded back to pass but, not finding a receiver, ran for a TD from the 26 to give the Saints a 12-7 edge.
  • In Q3, another bad center gave the Crusaders a safety. Then another 140-pounder, speedy senior HB Jerry Zimmerman, skirted RE from the 3 for another tally.
  • In Q4, the desperate Rebels launched a passing attack, but junior C Earl Burke deflected a Weidenbacher aerial, picked it up on the Nicholls 42, and rambled to pay dirt.
  • A 30-yard Weidenbacher TD pass in Q4 made the final score 27-13.

The victory ran the Saints' record to 3-3-1 with a trip to Bogalusa left on the card. However, the chances of an upset took a nosedive when principal Brother Martin, S.C., announced on Tuesday that seven players were suspended from the team for the final game because they didn't attend school on Monday after the homecoming game. Included were Christiansen and Bravo, two of the heroes in the Nicholls triumph.

Friday night, November 19, before a crowd of 3500 fans at Redwood Bowl in Bogalusa, Zimmerman raced 54y to the end zone on the third play of the game. After the home team tied the score 6-6, "the sensational little Zimmerman" returned the kickoff 90y for a 12-6 advantage that lasted until halftime. However, the Lumberjacks exploded for 20 points in Q3 for a 26-12 victory.

The game proved to be Harry "Wop" Glover's last at SA. After his resignation, Brother Martin hired Jesuit assistant Eddie Toribio as head coach for 1949. Four years later, Toribio would bring the school its first city gridiron championship in the highest classification.
Jerry Zimmerman
Jerry Zimmerman

Earl Burke

Only 49 Passes But One Doozy
Faraji Foster
Faraji Foster
Blair Barbier & Andy Pettavino
Blair Barbier and Andy Pettavino

The 1993 Brother Martin Crusaders attempted only 49 passes in eleven games. However, one aerial produced a school record.

  • Senior Faraji Foster led the wishbone ground game with 888y on 94 carries and 12 TDs. Foster produced five straight 100y games.
  • Anothe senior, Ryan Barbe, rushed for 501y while junior Ricky Corales added 377.
  • Sophomore QB Blair Barbier and Corales were a combined 0-for-9 through the air in the 13-7 loss at South Lafourche.

The Crusaders started slowly but still made the playoffs.

  • BM lost three of the first four games, defeating only Thibodaux 38-12 in the Superdome.
  • The Crusaders ripped off five straight wins before losing the finale to St. Augustine 14-7 to finish third in district.
  • It was the St. Aug. game that produced the record pass as Barbier connected with senior Andy Pettavino for a 70y score, the longest pass in school history to that point.

A 28-21 loss at St. Amant in the first playoff game ended the season with a 6-5 record.

6-0 in '59

The 1959 St. Aloysius Crusaders started the football season with six straight wins.

  • As was the custom throughout the 50s, Warren Easton provided the opening opposition. HB Albert Nastasi's TD catch with only 32 seconds remaining provided the margin of victory, 15-13. Coach Andy Douglass said afterward: "We're a young team. This game will mature us."
  • The second contest was not tight as Fortier fell 28-0. E Claude Poirson, one of the captains, provided leadership by returning an INT 53y for a TD.
  • Next came the annual trip to Bogalusa. The highlight of the 33-6 victory was a "neatly-executed QB option play" as Paul Reinhardt pitched out to Nastasi who went 13y to paydirt. Heavy rain hampered play in the last quarter.
  • Week 4 brought another road trip, this one to Houma to play Terrebonne, another annual opponent in the 50s. Reinhardt passed for two TDs, one to HB Anthony Dalmado for 20y and the second to Poirson for another 20. The 27-12 score doesn't reflect the Sader dominance, which included a 16-1 lead in first downs.
  • The next trip took the Saints across the Mississippi to Behrman Stadium in Algiers to play West Jefferson. Both scores in the 14-7 triumph came on long plays – a 93y gallop by Reinhardt and Nick Bonura's 79y kickoff return.

When district play started the next week, Jesuit handed the Crimson and White their first defeat, 26-13, at City Park Stadium. Hampered by injuries the last part of the season, the Crusaders finished with a 7-3-1 record.

Tony Dalmado runs, 1959.

Football action vs. Fortier 1959

Left: Tony Dalmado runs; Above: Action against Fortier

Al Nastasi
Albert Nastasi

Claude Poirson
Claude Poirson

Paul Reinhardt
Paul Reinhardt

Nick Bonura
Nick Bonura

Rushing Juggernaut
DiSalvo-Caracci 1991
Joey DiSalvo takes aim for Frank Caracci.
Martin-Jesuit Football 1991
Dante Ascani runs against Jesuit.

The 1991 Brother Martin Crusaders morphed into a rushing juggernaut, gaining 1,047 in the last three games of the regular season.

  • After three straight losses reduced the record to 2-5, Martin dominated winless De La Salle 32-0 at Pan-American Stadium. The Saders amassed 356 on the ground while holding the Cavaliers to 40. QB Joey DiSalvo led with 111y while Dante Ascani, switched to FB after two years at DE, added 107. Led by Jeff Lupo's 16 tackles, the D did not allow the Cavs to penetrate their 40.
  • Jesuit fell 35-0 at Joe Yenni Stadium. DiSalvo ran for 183 on only 16 carries, including a 58y TD. Ascani totaled 105. RB Frank Caracci made a 27y one-handed TD catch. The victory marked the first time BM had recorded consecutive shutouts since 1979.
  • Bob Conlin's Crew gained the District 10-5A runner-up spot and a playoff berth by shellacking Rummel 37-14 at Yenni. Ascani outgained the Raiders by himself, 131 to 121, to break the century mark for the third straight week. Chubby Marks's D sacked QB Rick Culotta four times. The Saders relished their ninth straight win over the Metairie school.

The Crusaders traveled to Slidell for the playoffs.

  • Future LSU DB Troy Twillie negated the Martin ball-control O by returning a punt 82y for one TD and an INT 98 for another.
  • Tiger QB Peter Bailey threw for 235 while BM could muster only 169 on the ground.
  • The 35-12 loss ended the careers of 39 seniors and marked BM's first losing record (5-6) since 1981.

Seven Crusaders made the All-District team: DiSalvo, Ascani, Lupo, T Kevin Balser, G Chris G'Sell, LB Scott Cernich, and DB Andre Bruni. G'Sell was also named to the all-metro squad.

Saints vs. Doc
The St. Aloysius Crusaders faced future Heisman Trophy winner Felix "Doc" Blanchard of St. Stanislaus twice.
  • On Sunday, November 24, 1940, Harry "Wop" Glover's Saints traveled to Bay St. Louis MS to face the Rock-a-Chaws in their homecoming clash before 2,500 spectators, including 500 Aloysius followers.
  • The anticipated duel between Crusader scatback Johnny Campora and Blanchard "never materialized as both contestants were held in check by leg injuries." Blanchard played only a few minutes, still suffering from injuries received against Jesuit several weeks before.
  • The Saders unleashed a balanced attack, with Ernie Pechon, Charlie D'Antoni, and Campora handling the ground duties while Jim Filkins, Sal Tassistro, and D'Antoni hauled in passes.
  • The lone TD of the game came late in Q3 after Bill Hubble recovered a Blanchard fumble on the 15. On third down, D'Antoni raced around LE to score standing up. A pass from Campora to Filkins for the PAT fell incomplete.

The following year, Blanchard, a boarding student from North Carolina, got revenge.

  • The Rocks visited City Park Stadium on Sunday, October 5, 1941. While SA equalled the visitors with 11 first downs and gained nearly as much yardage, the home team couldn't penetrate the EZ.
  • Interceptions played a major role in the contest. Anthony Chetta picked off Blanchard's pass on the 50 in Q1. Six plays later, the Saders had a first down on the 20. But Campora lost a fumble to end the threat.
  • Sparked by runs of 24 and 16y by Blanchard, SSC drove to the Aloysius 7 but lost a fumble themselves.
  • The Rock-a-Chaws finally got on the scoreboard in Q2 following an INT of a Campora pass at their own 32. A 26y pass moved the ball to the SA 35. After a penalty, Blanchard connected for 32 to the eight. Blanchard dove over from the 2 on fourth down, then place kicked the extra point.
  • The second and final TD of the game came in Q3 after Blanchard punted out of bounds on the Aloysius 8. On fourth down, Campora booted to Hugh Kiefer at the SA 48. "From there the Rock safety man started a beautiful jaunt down the right side line. Shaking off and sidestepping would-be tacklers from all sides, he dashed into the end zone." Blanchard again split the uprights.
  • Campora prevented another score in Q4 when he intercepted Doc's pass in the EZ.
  • Throughout the hard-fought contest, Blanchard made tackles all over the field from his LB position.
Felix "Doc" Blanchard
"Doc" Blanchard, Heisman Trophy winner for West Point, 1945

Johnny Campora
"Take a Knee"
Bob Conlin and Chubby Marks
Bob Conlin and Chubby Marks
in 1979

"Take a knee" is a frequently-used football term that refers to the QB killing the last seconds of the half or game. However, under Coach Bob Conlin, the phrase took on new meaning for the Crusaders.

  • In the days leading up to the state championship game in 1971, his second season as head coach, Bob promised the Virgin Mary that, if the Crusaders became state champs, he would lead the team in a decade of the rosary after every game. She kept her end of the bargain, and he kept his. Win or lose, he would tell the team to "take a knee" in the locker room after the game.
  • A rosary played a part in another exciting BM victory. Chubby Marks, who was Bob's D coordinator through his tenure at the helm, lost his rosary from Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, during the semifinal game at Ruston in 1989. Chubby didn't realize he'd lost it during the heat of battle. A player found it and gave it to Bob after the first OT. After the Crusaders' 59-56 victory in triple OT, Bob returned the beads to Chubby, telling him, "After they found your rosary, I had nothing to worry about. I knew we would win."
  • Of the many tributes to Bob after his death in 1997, this one came from Kenny Bordelon ('72).
    Coach Conlin taught me two important lessons that go far beyond the football field. One, winning is gaining the respect of the opposition. Two, you never lose if you put forth your best effort.
First Playoff Game
In a saga that rivals the Saints' decades of futility, St. Aloysius took 31 years to make the state football playoffs.
  • Having won the Prep League championship for the first time in school history, Eddie Toribio's Crusaders faced Istrouma for the Southern District Championship on Friday, November 28, 1952, at Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge.
  • In Q1, the Saints were somewhat sluggish while the Indians scored a TD but missed the PAT.
  • Aloysius mounted a 64y drive in the second period. The key play was a 31y pass from Nick Blount to John Habisreitinger. However, the threat ended on the 12. Istrouma led at halftime, 6-0.
  • Defensive star Bob Neyrey set up the first Crimson and White TD with a 47y punt return to the Indian 13. Blount, in three plays, picked up first and goal on the three. Then FB Ralph Schindler bulled over. Blount added the PAT.
  • After the Indians regained the lead, 12-7, Neyrey struck again in the final period as he intercepted a pass at the Istrouma ten and ran into the EZ. The Saint D held on for a 13-12 triumph.
South Louisiana Championship Banner
The next week, Fair Park of Shreveport bested the Saints 20-0 at City Park Stadium to take the state title. Unfortunately, St. Aloysius never won a state football championship to go with its multiple basketball and baseball crowns. The football title was finally won by Brother Martin in 1971.
Freshmen Champs
Freshman QB Marc Mouton
QB Marc Mouton
The 1981 Crusader freshman football team captured the district crown for the second straight year.
  • Coached by Ray Charbonneau and Nick Lagatutta, the 9th-graders swept through six foes undefeated.

    East St. John 10-0
    De La Salle 12-0
    Lutcher 8-6
    Holy Cross 6-0
    Shaw 8-6
    Jesuit 22-0

  • The defense, led by Troy Tortorich, Bert Daigre, and Robbie DeLord, pitched four shutouts and allowed only 12 points for the season.
  • RB Tortorich and linemen Brian Despinasse and Barry Burns sparked the offense.

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