Crusader Football -€“ 7
115 Pound City Championship Game

Brother Ralph, S.C.
Brother Ralph, S.C.

 

 

Walter Malouise

The 1934 St. Aloysius football "Third Team" played a game for the benefit of the The Times Picayune Doll and Toy Fund at Heinemann Park (home of the baseball Pelicans) on Sunday, December 16.

  • Brother Ralph, S.C., coach of the team, chose as the oppo­nent the Greyhounds from Lakeview coached by Al de Fuentes, A.J. Negrotto, and L. de Fuentes.
  • The game would be for the city championship in the 115 pound class since the two undefeated squads had previ­ously fought to a scoreless tie that preserved the Baby Panthers' unbeaten record over a stretch of four years.
  • The Baby Saints had bested the Landry Stars, Cavaliers, Mildew Midgets, and the Behrman Juniors, a team with a 15 pound-per-man advantage. The Cavaliers were the first team to score as many as 12 points against the Third Team in three years with one TD coming on a kickoff return. For­tunately, the Panthers scored 19.
  • The question mark for the Panthers was whether their captain, senior RB Walter Malouise ('35), would play after missing the last couple of games with an injury suffered in the previous meeting with the Greyhounds.
  • Even if Malouise didn't play, Brother Ralph could count on good ball-toting from freshman Ashton LeBlanc ('38), the squad's top scorer, and senior John Zamora ('35), "a con­stant threat with his around-end runs and [who] excels on returning punts, besides being a fine broken-field runner," and fine line play from senior Anthony Occhipinti ('35) and Bob Cormier.
  • Lakeview's best backs were Johnny Altobello (future Aloysius basketball and baseball coach) and Emmett Mer­cier while Captain Roy Montreuil, Earl Bienvenu, and Milton LeBlanc stood out on the line. The Hounds had outscored the opposition 164-0.

 

Heinemann Park, New Orleans
Heinemann Park

1934 Lakeview & Baby Panthers Teams
A "large crowd" watched the Greyhounds emerge victorious in "a thrilling contest," 6-0.
  • The Forstall brothers, George and Bob, spearheaded the effort that handed the Baby Panthers their first defeat in four seasons.
  • The only TD came with five minutes left in Q4. Johnny Couget got off two successful passes, one to Abrams for 20y and the other to Mercier for 15. Then two plunges put the ball on the 3, from where George Forstall crashed through C for the score.
  • Twice before, the victors had penetrated the 10y line only to be stopped by the "hard-battling Aloysius team."
  • The TP writeup praised Zamora at QB and LeBlanc at HB as the standout ball carriers for the losers.
All-Time Aloysius Team

Lou Bravo
Lou Bravo

Nolan Delatte
Nolan Delatte

The Aloysian December 16, 1955: Sports editor Billy Divine ('57) contacted a "group of experts" and asked them to select an all-time Aloysius football team.

The panel consisted of Pete Mailhes, Tad Gormley, Ray Mock, Brother Gregory S.C., Pete Finney, Ed Toribio, Gernon Brown, N. Charles Wicker, and Divine himself.

The results:

  • Ends - Eddie Bravo ('51) and Lou Bravo ('48)
  • Tackles - Bob Arnoult ('53) and Dick Gehrgie
  • Guards - Bobby Nuss ('48) and Leon Chaplain ('42)
  • Center - Nolan Delatte ('40)
  • Backs - Roy Hoffmann ('46), John Campora ('42), Eddie Daigle ('33), Jim Thibaut ('38), Tyrone Clark ('56)

The only unanimous player was Nuss.

Honorable Mention:

  • Ends - Roy Lomax ('32), Billy Connick ('53), Ray Staub ('33)
  • Tackles - Raymond "Tiny" Drouilhet ('22), Leon Chaplain ('42)
  • Guards - "Rock" Roussel ('37), Gasper Abene ('53), Randy Bordelon
  • Center - John Cronin ('47), Vernon Jaubert ('35), Butler Powell ('56)
  • Backs - Clarence Smith ('29), Louis Giambelluca ('51), Al Liska ('35)

Divine pointed out that "it is very hard to judge the backfield men ... Ty Clark, for instance, is about the greatest 'T' QB that came to Aloysius, while another man may be a great single wing QB."

Bobby Nuss
Bobby Nuss

Roy Hoffmann
Roy Hoffmann

Pupil vs Mentor
As the 1949 St. Aloysius Crusaders prepared for their annual clash with Jesuit, all the talk was about the coaches. It was the first meeting of the new Saints coach, Eddie Toribio, with his high school coach, Gernon Brown.

N. Charles Wicker, the Times Picayune prep writer, made much of the teacher-pupil relationship.

  • He wrote that the Crusaders were "noted for their ability to always give Jesuit a tough game."
  • "This year's 22nd meeting between the two schools should be even closer than all previous contests, as it brings together the former Blue Jay star and coach Eddie Toribio against his alma mater."
  • "If any should know the Blue Jays set-up from end to end, inside and out Toribio should. He formerly played with the Jays, came back in 1940 and served a year as assistant coach, then after returning from the service in 1946, returned to Jesuit and helped Gernon Brown until the past year ..."

Brown's 1949 aggregation was not shaping up as one of his better squads.

  • The Jays opened the season by losing to Bogalusa 18-7 and Baton Rouge 13-7 before beating Redemptorist 14-12.
  • Toribio's new charges split their opening games against sister Brothers of the Sacred Heart schools, losing to Catholic High 32-12 before winning at St. Stanislaus 13-0.

Whether Toribio's inside knowledge made a different or not, the Saints achieved their third tie (against one victory) against their Banks Street rivals.

  • A crowd estimated at 8-10,000 saw the Blue and White score in Q1 when Bob Chaney completed a 16y flip to Clancy Dupepe, then a 21-yarder to Harry Duvignaud. After Bob picked up 14 more on two runs, Dupepe skirted RE from the 3 for the score. The Saders stopped the run for the extra point, a development that would prove important.
  • The rest of the first half, which was marred by intermittent showers, produced no further scoring.

The Crusaders excited their homecoming crowd by tying the score in Q3.

  • Don Summerhalter's 15y run sparked a drive to the Jay 16, where Aloysius faced 4th and 9.
  • According to young Peter Finney writing in the States, little Jimmy Christianson ('50) "hurled a pass that hit a surprised Jesuit defender. The ball bounced off the startled boy in blue and into the waiting arms of Ed Bravo who had an easy time getting into the end zone."
  • The Jays blocked the go-ahead kick by freshman Richard Gueldner.

The fired up Saints kept their foe bottled up in their own territory the rest of the game.

  • Later in Q3, "Huey Bridges dropped back into punt formation. The snap from C was low and Huey fumbled the ball. With Blue Jays converging from all sides, Huey had the presence of mind to pick up the pigskin and get out of the way. He got away for 43y, longest run of the ball game." Unfortunately, the Crimson were unable to capitalize.
  • Later, the Crusaders marched to the Jesuit 26 where they faced fourth-and-1. For some reason, Toribio had Bridges attempt a coffin corner kick instead of striving for the first down. Huey's boot angled out of bounds at the 20.

The statistics reflected the even-steven nature of the contest.

  • Each team gained 6 first downs.
  • The Crusaders outgained the Jays on the ground 125-47.
  • The teams combined for 27 pass attempts, a large number for a high school game in that era. SA completed only 2 for 24y while Jesuit connected on 5 for 57y. Aloysius picked off two aerials while suffering one INT themselves.

Toribio's maiden squad would not win another game, completing the campaign 1-6-2. However, he laid the foundation for continued improvement in subsequent years until the 1952 Crusaders won the school's first prep gridiron crown.

Coach Eddie Toribio
Eddie Toribio 1949

E Eddie Bravo
Ed Bravo

QB Huey Bridges
Huey Bridges

Turnovers Kill
1956 West Jefferson-St. Aloysius Program Cover
Sid Raymond
Sid Raymond

RB Bobby Meyers
Bobby Meyers

Roy Picou 1956
Roy Picou

The 1956 St. Aloysius Crusaders scored back-to-back victories as a result of turnovers.

Andy Douglass's third squad as head man sported a 2-1-1 record as they traveled across the river to face West Jefferson at Behrman Stadium in Algiers on Thursday, October 4.

  • Linemen set up all three TDs against Lou Blanda's Buccaneers.
  • Sid Raymond recovered a bad snap from C.
  • Robert Smith blocked a punt.
  • Ed Ryan recovered a fumble.
  • The Crusaders prevailed 18-6.

The following week, the Crimson Knights sought their third straight victory over Jesuit on Sunday afternoon, October 14, at City Park Stadium.

  • The 2-2 Jays of coach Eddie Toribio mixed a little T-formation with the traditional single wing.
  • Neither scheme produced a single point as S Jimmy Donegan intercepted five of Jesuit's nine passes and Gaspar Cardinale picked off another.
  • Unable to get anything going in the first half, Aloysius came out after the break with a fighting spirit. They took the kickoff and traveled 64y in five plays. Bobby Meyers went over from the 2 after setting up the score with a 55y gallop around RE.
  • The second 6-pointer came as Tom Schwaner did the honors to culminate a 45y drive.
  • Midway in Q4, Roy Picou scored on a 51y pass from Schwaner. Tom split the uprights for his third straight PAT to cap the 21-0 triumph.
Tom Schwaner runs against Jesuit.
The Crusaders finished the regular season 6-2-2 to earn a Shrimp Bowl invitation to face host Biloxi High. But that's a story for another day.
First "Double Win" Season

The 1952 St. Aloysius football squad achieved some milestones no previous Crusader team had ever reached.

Thursday, October 2, Aloysius defeated Jesuit 7-0 at City Park Stadium.

  • The triumph reversed the 35-8 shellacking the Knights absorbed the previous year. The victory was Coach Eddie Toribio's first over his alma mater in four tries.
  • The "early season's largest crowd," 15,000, watched the Crusaders threaten twice in Q2 only to be thwarted by an INT and a fumble.
  • The only score of the evening came on Jack Voelker's 30y run after catching a fumble caused by a hit on QB Don Trahan who was back to pass. Nick Blount converted with 10 minutes left in Q3 for a 7-0 lead.
  • Jesuit finally gained its initial first down as a result of a penalty in Q4. With five minutes left, the Blue Jays made their second and final first down.

Two weekends later, after the Saders defeated Redemptorist to go 3-0, Toribio's boys faced Holy Cross on Sunday afternoon, October 19.

  • After a scoreless first period, a hurried punt gave Aloysius the ball on the Tiger 34. From there, the Knights drove to the one foot line on repeated ground plunges. Blount then scored and converted to send the underdog Saints ahead 7-0.
  • Crusader G Gasper Abene halted Lou Deutschmann's line plunge with a bone-jarring tackle that caused a fumble into the waiting arms of Joe Mahoney who scampered 44y to double the lead.
  • The Crossmen's only score came on an 85y kickoff return by Charlie French to end the first half.
  • Early in Q3, Saint E Mike Huber pounced on an HC fumble on their 33. Repeated gains by FB Ralph Schindler and TB Blount placed the ball on the 15. Eddie Arms, directing the team from the split T formation, circled LE on an option play for the Crimson’s third tally.

The victory established two milestones.

  • It was the first over the Tigers since '41 when Johnny Campora spearheaded the 18-0 victory.
  • Even more important, it marked the first time in history that Aloysius defeated both Jesuit and Holy Cross in the same year.

The '52 Crusaders won the school's first prep gridiron crown (in the highest classification) and reached the state finals, losing to Fair Park of Shreveport 20-0.

Coach Eddie Toribio
Eddie Toribio
Nick Blount
Nick Blount
Eddie Arms
Eddie Arms

1952 St. Aloysius City Champions and State Runner-Up
1952 St. Aloysius City Champions

Century II Article on 1952 Season

Four Shutouts
1961 St. Aloysius Junior Varsity
1961 St. Aloysius JV Football Team
Coached by Don Perret, the Baby Crusaders won the City Crown with a 3-0-1 mark. They defeated Redemptorist 13-0, Jesuit 14-0, and Holy Cross 13-0 while tying De La Salle 0-0. If you put those scores together, you get a defense that didn't allow a point. HBs Richard Falati ('64) and Ken Nico­losi ('64) led the team in scoring.
District Newcomers
For the 1964-5 and '65-6 school years, the LHSAA in its wisdom added three teams from the bayou to the New Orleans Catholic District (5-AAA).

  • South Terrebonne Gators
  • Terrebonne Tigers
  • Thibodaux Tigers

How did St. Aloysius fare on the gridiron against the new members in a district that had three sets of Tigers?

1964

  • Thursday, Sept. 24 - St. Aloysius 12 Terrebonne 7 in Houma
    Senior QB Ronnie Hebert scored both Crusader TDs in the second half, one on a 16y run and the other on a 3y plunge to overcome a 7-6 deficit. The only Tiger tally came on a fumble recovery in the EZ.
  • Friday, Oct. 9 - Thibodaux 13 St. Aloysius 0 in Thibodaux
    In the first pigskin clash between the schools, the Crusaders failed to muster any points thanks to four fumbles and 60y in penalties. The Tigers' first TD came when a D lineman picked up a stray pitchout and rumbled 60y. The Saints drove to the 5 in Q2 only to lose the ball on a fumble.
  • Friday, Oct. 23 - St. Aloysius 20 South Terrebonne 6 @City Park Stadium
    Aloysius won this first-ever meeting before "some 3,800 howling homecoming celebrants." Hebert plunged over from the 1 in Q1, senior WB Joe Smith zig-zagged 31y to paydirt in Q3, and senior FB Kenny Newfield contributed the final 6 "on a spectacular 26y sprint around his RE."
 St. Aloysius vs. Thibodaux
1965
  • Friday, Sept. 24 - Terrebonne 7 St. Aloysius 0 at City Park Stadium
    Neither team could manage much O in a game highlighted by hard-hitting D. SA penetrated deep into Tiger territory three times only to be thwarted each time.
  • Friday, Oct. 8 - St. Aloysius 12 Thibodaux 7 at City Park Stadium
    Facing the team picked to win the district, the Crusaders scored first midway through Q2 on a 2y plunge by senior FB Don Nix to culminate a 65y drive. The Tigers took a 7-6 lead on a 44y pass with only 17 seconds left in the half. After a scoreless Q3, senior Joe Diliberto plucked a Thibodaux fumble out of the air and ran 47y for the winning score.
  • Friday, Oct. 22 - South Terrebonne 7 St. Aloysius 6 @Houma
    The Gators scored in the opening minutes of play on a 40y run by the FB. Midway through Q2, Nix plunged over from the 1. However, the PAT sailed wide right. Several times in the second half, SA marched into enemy territory only to be stopped by interceptions. The Saints rolled up 247y to only 96 for the home team.

So the Crusaders finished the two seasons with a 1-1 record against each of three interlopers.

QB Ronnie Hebert
Ronnie Hebert

FB Don Nix
Don Nix

Shrimp Bowl Champs
The 1975 season was a frustrating one for Coach Bob Conlin's Crusaders, who finished the regular season 7-2-1.

  • The tie came in the second game at Baker in the rain, 6-6.
  • Rummel upset the Crusaders on October 9 on a night when the D gave up more points, 28, than they surrendered in the other nine games combined.
  • Still, the Crusaders came into the finale with St. Augustine with a chance to tie for the district championship and go to the playoffs. However, playing without starting QB Louis Ernst, who hurt his ankle the previous week at Chalmette, the wishbone could generate no points. The only score of the night came on a 23y fumble return for a TD by the Purple Knights, who would cruise through the playoffs to win their first LHSAA championship.
  • The Saders ended in a tie for second with Rummel, with the Raiders advancing by virtue of their head-to-head victory.
1975 Louis Ernst vs Rummel
Louis Ernst prepares to pitchout vs Rummel
The Crusaders jumped at the chance to end the season on a better note in the 36th annual Shrimp Bowl at Biloxi Municipal Stadium.

  • Gulfport East didn't know what hit them as the inspired Martinites jumped on them immediately when Norman Glindmeyer returned the opening kickoff 83y to paydirt.
  • Glindmeyer added three more tallies on runs of 10, 4, and 13y. He also kicked two PATs and passed for a 2-point conversion to Chip Antonini. Needless to say, Norm earned the Outstanding Player award for the 42-13 victory.
  • The wishbone attack, with Ernst back in the saddle, accumulated 348y rushing and 26 first downs. The 200-lb QB, in his last game in crimson and gold, gained 52y on 8 carries and completed 2-of-6 for 13y and a TD to SE Danny Gaiennie.
  • The other TD came on a 1y plunge by FB Tony Melito.
  • LB Mike Pomes was honored as the most outstanding defensive player and Ernst, most outstanding on offense.
 Norman Glindmeyer - 1975 Shrimp Bowl
Norman Glindmeyer returns opening kickoff for TD in Shrimp Bowl.
1975 Shrimp Bowl
The Martin D swarms the Gulfport East ball carrier.
Sweet Revenge
QB Blair Barbier
Blair Barbier

Nick Reggio punting 1994
Nick Reggio

Coaches Bob Conlin and Mike Misita 1994
Coaches Bob Conlin
and Mike Misita

The 1994 football Crusaders began the season with three double-digit victories.

  • A 61y run by junior Royce Girouard highlighted the 38-13 romp at East Ascension. Royce scored another TD while senior Ricky Corales joined him with a pair of scores.
  • South Lafourche fell 23-7 in the annual Hap Glaudi Classic in the Superdome. The uneventful first half ended with a Crusader TD after a muffed punt. The exciting second half included a safety, three fumble recoveries, and two TDs.
  • A trip to Thibodaux resulted in a 28-14 victory in a game of long plays: 60y run by Corales, 20y by senior Kenny Leaber, and a 25-yarder by senior Garrett Pizzaloto. The last ramble secured the victory after a 72y fumble return pulled the Tigers within 7.

The streak ended with a 35-21 loss to Shaw at West Jefferson.

  • A nightmare of a first half saw two turnovers contribute to a 21-0 deficit.
  • The Saders fought back after intermission but couldn't get closer than 14.

Conlin's Crew then ripped off five in a row.

  • Slidell 48-6 in injured junior Blair Barbier's first start at QB
  • De La Salle 38-3 as three turnovers set up scores and junior Nick Reggio booted a school record 44y FG
  • Holy Cross 30-21 as the Tigers scored on a 91y pass to take their first lead over Martin since 1987 before Reggio's 2 FGs and a pass from Barbier to senior Vic Dubuclet gave the Saders the lead for good
  • Rummel 14-10 as the second half comeback was sparked by senior Brandon Buquoi's punt block
  • Jesuit 18-9 to secure a playoff berth

The high-flying Crusaders entered their final game against St. Augustine with a chance to secure a home game to start the playoffs.

  • Instead, they suffered the worst loss in school history, 48-7, to finish third in district.
  • Coach Conlin coaxed an outstanding performance after the devastating loss, a 22-17 victory at East Jefferson to start the playoffs.

That brought Martin face-to-face with the Eagles again.

  • After a scoreless Q1, Barbier's long pass to Corales put BM up 7-0.
  • Shaw drove for a FG right before the half.
  • Chubby Marks' D shut out the high-powered Eagle O in the second half, adding a safety for a 9-3 victory.

The victory earned the Crusaders a game at Gormley, but they needed more than home field advantage against the #1 Hahnville Tigers, who prevailed 34-7. Still, the defeat couldn't dull the joy of clipping the Eagles' wings.

 RB Ricky CoralesLee Smith vs Jesuit 1994
(L) Ricky Corales in the first Shaw game; (R) Lee Smith runs against Jesuit.
Almost Two in a Row
Every true Crusader knows that St. Aloysius first beat Jesuit on the gridiron in 1944. But even the true blue may not realize that the Crimson came within one play of topping the Blue Jays again the following year.

13,907 gathered on Sunday afternoon October 7, 1945, to watch what turned out to be a "prep classic."

  • After a scoreless Q1, the Jays drove inside the 10. Then senior TB Roy Hoffmann, the star of the '44 triumph, intercepted a slant-in pass from 14-year-old sophomore TB John Petitbon (future Notre Dame and Cleveland Browns player) and ran 98y down the middle of the field.
  • Phil Foto of Jesuit retaliated by returning an INT off Tom Graham 60y to tie the game 6-6. It was Aloysius's first and last pass of the contest.
  • Hoffmann struck again after halftime when he took back Petitbon's punt 49y to paydirt. Alvin Guidry's PAT made it 13-6. Roy recalled:

I lifted my arm to shield my eyes from the sun. The Jesuit players thought I had signaled for a fair catch and didn't try to tackle me until it was too late.

A friend of mine on the Jesuit team told me he didn't think anything ever made Gernon Brown madder than that play. He told the team that if they ever went down on a punt and the receiver's not waving his hand, you can hit him.

  • The Jays drove 56y to tally their second TD early in Q4 on a 22y pass from Petitbon to lanky E Hugh Oser. However, the Crimson stopped John's plunge short of the goal line to preserve the one-point lead.
  • The Crusaders took the kickoff and drove deep into Jesuit territory only to lose the ball on a fumble. The Blue Jays then mounted a desperate drive.

As time ticked away, a series of plays set up a exciting ending that broke the hearts of Crusader fans.

  • Hoffmann seemingly clinched the game for SA when he intercepted Petitbon's pass with less than two minutes to play. The video shows Roy returning the ball to the 22. However, there must have been a penalty because the next play starts from the 16.
  • Attempting to run out the clock, the Saders netted only 1y on three running plays against the massed D.
  • With less than 20 seconds remaining, Coach Roy Ary made perhaps the most controversial call in St. Aloysius football history. He decided not to punt.
  • Operating from the T formation, QB Bobby Piper dropped the ball as he tried to hand it to Hoffmann, and Jesuit recovered on the 15, although it was a moot point since it was fourth down.
  • Jay coach Gernon Brown called his last timeout with seven seconds showing on the big clock at the closed end of City Park Stadium. He sent in third string TB Charlie Villavaso to replace Petitbon because Charlie was the better passer.
  • As the sequence (below) of pictures from the game film shows, Charlie took the snap, ran to his right to elude two defenders, and lofted the ball toward Oser at the goal line as the horn sounded. Hugh leapt, grabbed the ball in front of two defenders, and landed in the end zone.
  • Jesuit students stormed the field and carried Oser off on their shoulders (no mean feet).

Defeat did not dim the luster of Hoffmann's spectacular performance.

  • Roy gained a prep record 303 totaly via running, INT returns, and punt returns.
  • He set another record by intercepting four Blue Jay aerials.

The '45 Crusaders finished 7-2, losing to eventual state champion Holy Cross 20-6 in the second-to-last game of the season.

Roy Hoffmann 1945
Roy Hoffmann

Coach Roy Ary
Roy Ary
Jesuit E Hugh Oser
Hugh Oser

Charlie Villavaso receives snap.
Villavasso receives the ball from C in the single wing
Villavaso Eludes a Crusader Rusher
Villavasso outruns helmetless Crusader
Villavaso Still Trying to Pass
Leaping Crusader delays pass
Villavaso Escapes
Villavaso barely escapes
Villavaso Lets Fly
Villavaso lets fly.
Oser Catches Winning TD
Oser catches winning TD; Hoffmann (13)
tries to reach over Bobby Piper.
Roy Hoffmann recalls a reunion of the '45 team many years ago. "Wop" Glover, former Crusader head coach (1939-42) who became Ary's assistant after returning from the Navy, told the group that he called the running play on fourth down, not Ary.
Identical Lafourche Games

PK Eric Escher
Eric Escher

RB Bryce Williams
Bryce Williams

The 1990 football Crusaders made two trips to Lafourche Parish and returned with victories by identical scores.

Friday, September 7: @South Lafourche

  • The Crusaders trailed 6-3 at the half thanks to a 37y pass. Senior Eric Escher had opened the scoring for BM on the first possession with a 38y FG to cap a 13-play drive. Early in Q3, sophomore Dante Ascani recovered a fumble at the Martin 31. On the first play, senior Bryce Williams raced 69y for the go-ahead score. Junior Joe DiSalvo's 49y TD run with 10:54 remaining moved the lead to 17-6, enough to withstand a late Tarpon TD and 2-point conversion.

Friday, September 21: @Central Lafourche

  • Escher played a crucial role in the victory for the fifth time in six games, including the winning FG in the third OT of the thrilling 59-56 semifinal victory over Ruston in '89. This time it was a three-pointer in the third OT that produced another 17-14 victory in Cajun country. The boot came on first down after senior Alton Jones's interception ended the Trojans' possession. The successful kick took Eric off the hook for a missing a 27-yarder on first down in Martin's second OT possession after senior Larry Moore recovered a fumble at the 1. Both sides had scored 7 in the first OT, Martin's coming on DiSalvo's 4y pass in the corner of the EZ to a diving Greg Honore ('91) on fourth down. Williams had scored BM's only TD of regulation with a 68y run in Q3. Escher said of his winning boot:

I was trying not to think about the other one. I had to come back and make it. I knew it was going to come back to me again. I just wanted to make it. I wasn't as nervous as I was in Ruston because I am pretty much used to it.

Bob Conlin's 21st squad finished the season 6-4 and missed the playoffs.

Sudden Turnaround

1976 Co-Captain Mark Pecoraro
Mark Pecoraro

The 1976 edition of the gridiron rivalry with Jesuit didn't start well for the Crusaders.

  • Martin fumbled on their first three possessions to fall into a 10-0 hole. The points were the first by the Jays against BM since 1971.
  • BM's bobble count now totaled 19 in a little over four games, with the opponents recovering 13.
  • As a result, the Crusaders had lost three straight after an opening 7-0 win over Kennedy: a 35-0 shellacking at Baker - the worst defeat in school history to that point, a 14-12 heartbreaker to Bonnabel when BM reached the 3 in the final minutes only to fumble away the chance at victory, and 25-3 to De La Salle.

Bob Conlin's wishbone offense would have to pass to get back into the game.

  • But that was a problem since the aerial ledger for the four games showed a dismal 3-for-22s.
  • But after a shaky first half, the offense drove freely the rest of the game as sophomore QB Buddy Abraham rushed for 128y and, amazingly, threw a TD strike and completed another beautiful pass that set up another six-pointer.
  • The Crusaders won going away, 34-10, for their fifth straight victory over the Blue Jays.
  • Senior co-captain Mark Pecoraro ran for two scores and Abraham one.
With Abraham under C, BM won three of the last five to finish 5-5.

QB Buddy Abraham
Buddy Abraham

Momentum Carried Over

Coach Eddie Toribio
Eddie Toribio

TB Nick Blount
Nick Blount

Charlie Reppel
Charlie Reppel

Sometimes, after a team has an outstanding year, it's possible to look back to the previous year and see omens that predicted good times ahead. That rule applies to St. Aloysius's 1951 football team, which ended the season with three straight victories to set the stage for the school's first Prep championship in 1952.

On Saturday, November 3, 1951, the Saints traveled to Chattanooga to play Central High in the first game Aloysius had played outside the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

  • Without the benefit of scouting the opponent, Eddie Toribio saw his team fall behind 26-0 at the half on their way to a 33-7 shellacking.
  • The defeat lowered the SA record to 1-4-1, the victory being a 6-0 upset of Warren Easton.

The Crusaders would not lose in their next eleven games until December 12, 1952. The three remaining 1951 contests went like this.

  • Bolton 19-0
    Like the Saints, the Bears from Alexandria had difficulty scoring points. Until they upset Sulphur 13-12 the previous week, they had scored just one touchdown in six games. The Crimson D played its best game of the season, holding the visitors scoreless. TB Nickie Blount, who would make All-Prep as a junior, scored the first two TDs. He climaxed a short 28y drive by driving off the right side for 19y for the first TD in Q2, then went off tackle again from the 3 in Q3. The final score came when Will Connick, another junior, recovered a fumble in the EZ.

  • Nicholls 26-20
    Completely outplayed the first half, the Crusaders stormed back to overcome a 13-point deficit. FB Ralph Schindler, still another junior, scored three TDs on runs of 13, 22, and 1y. Blount added the fourth from 11y out.

  • Redemptorist 26-0
    The Crimson D held the Rams without a first down the first three periods. Don Summerhalter - you guessed it, a junior - scored the first TD in the opening stanza. Then Joe Mahoney (another junior) picked up a partially blocked punt and ran 6y for the second. Charles Reppel, a senior who crashed the junior party, tallied the third on an end-around before Bobby Neyrey (junior) recorded the final six.

The Saints finished 4-4-1 to set the stage for the glorious '52 campaign.