Crusader Football - 9
Aloysius Gridiron All-Staters

Leon Chaplain

Mike McMenemon

Joe Diliberto

Eight St. Aloysius football players made All-State during the school's 48 seasons on the gridiron.

  • 1931 - HB Eddie Daigle
  • 1940, 1941 - G Leon Chaplain
  • 1941 - HB Johnny Campora
  • 1945 - HB Roy Hoffmann
  • 1952 - T Robert Arnoult
  • 1952 - C Ronald Senac
  • 1965 - E Joe Dilberto (defense)
  • 1967 - G Mike McMenemon (offense)

The following players made 2nd team All-State squads.

  • 1934 - HB Al Liska
  • 1937 - HB Jimmy Thibaut
  • 1944 - HB Roy Hoffmann
  • 1947 - E Lou Bravo
  • 1952 - G Gasper Abene
  • 1952 - HB Nick Blount
  • 1957 - E Joe Spano
  • 1963 - G Mike Cammarata
  • 1966 - LB A. J. Cammarata

The author would like to know of any first- or second-team All-Staters he may have missed in the above list.

Eddie Daigle

Johnny Campora

Roy Hoffmann

Ronald Senac

Robert Arnoult

Crusaders vs Future Pros - John Petitbon

John Petitbon played varsity football at Jesuit during the 1945-46-47 seasons.

  • He then played for Frank Leahy at Notre Dame.
  • His pro career began with the Dallas Texans in 1952. Then, after two years serving in the marines in the Korean War, he played two years for the Cleveland Browns before finishing his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1957.

The Crusaders faced Petitbon three times. (Click each year below to read more about each game.)


  • Johnny started at TB in Gernon Brown's single wing as a sophomore.
  • Saints' senior HB Roy Hoffmann had gained 211y the year before in Aloysius's first ever victory over Jesuit. Roy broke open a scoreless game by snaring Petitbon's pass on the 2 and roaring past all the Jays to pay dirt.
  • Before halftime, Jesuit got an INT return TD of their own to tie the game 6-6.
  • Hoffmann put the Crusaders back in front with a 55y punt return.
  • Early in Q4, the Jays scored on a pass, but Petitbon's plunge for the tying point fell short.
  • With less than two minutes to play, Roy seemingly clinched the victory by inter­cepting another Petitbon aerial.
  • Attempting to run out the clock from their 15, the Saints netted only 1y on three running plays. With less than 20 seconds remaining, Aloysius decided not to punt. But a fumbled snap aborted the play before it began. Jesuit called their last timeout.
  • With 0:07 on the clock, third string TB Charlie Villavaso took the snap, ran to his right, and threw on the run to giant E Hugh Oser, who snagged the ball falling into the EZ as the horn blew to break the hearts of the Crimson nation.
  • Jesuit 18 St. Aloysius 13


  • 23,200 packed City Park Stadium to watch the offensively-challenged Crusaders hold the Jays to 13 points but fail to score themselves.
  • After Jesuit took a 6-0 lead in Q2, the Saints recovered a fumble deep in Jay territory. But Petitbon intercepted Bobby Piper's pass to snuff out the threat.
  • Johnny also gashed the Saint D for runs of 7, 8, and even 20y. But the dogged SA defenders dug in until Jesuit finally drove 47y to make it 13-0.
  • Late in the game, Mel Stevens jumped in front of a Blue and White pass on his 22 and set sail for the goal. He broke into the clear on the Jay 40 only to have Petitbon catch him from behind at the 20.
  • Jesuit 13 St. Aloysius 0


  • Continuing the postwar boom in prep football, 23,000 gathered for the renewal of the early October series.
  • After a scoreless opening period, the defending state champions drew first blood only to have the Crusaders storm right back and tie the game. An INT set up the Jays at the 8, from where Petitbon scored, then ran in the EP.
  • After receiving the kickoff, SA ate up chunks of ground as Nick Revon, Adolph Laplace, and Lacy Aucoin moved the ball to the 8. Aucoin took it in from there to tie the game.
  • During the march, Petitbon was injured making a tackle and didn't return.
  • Neither team scored in the second half.
  • Jesuit 7 St. Aloysius 7

John Petitbon

Roy Hoffmann

Mel Stevens

Last Crusader Visit to Stanislaus
This was written as Brother Martin prepared to play St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis Septem­ber 11, 2015 in the first meeting between BMHS and SSC on the gridiron and the first foot­ball game between a Crusader team and the Rock-a-Chaws since 1960.

The 1960 St. Aloysius Crusaders, 8-1 after defeating Holy Cross 14-13, took a break from Catholic League play for a trip to Bay St. Louis to face St. Stanislaus Friday, Novem­ber 11.

  • The Rock-a-Chaws had won but one game all season, a 7-0 victory over another Brothers of the Sacred Heart school, Catholic High, the second week.
  • Aloysius and SSC tied 7-7 in 1959 when the series was renewed for the first time in ten years.
TDs: SA Giambelluca 2, Oddo, Verriere, Cronin; SSC Lobrano;
PAT: SA Balser 2 (PK), SSC Wilson (PK)

The Crusaders made ground meat of the Rocks as John Giambelluca's 159y on 14 car­ries led the rushing attack that amassed over 200y.

  • Q1: The visitors marched 50y to their first score with Leon Verriere crashing over RT from the 3. Giambelluca had thrusts of 11 and 18y along the way.
  • Q2: Early in the period, the Crusaders completed a 65y foray in 10 plays. Giam­belluca streaked around RE from the 15 for the TD. Arthur Balser's boot made it 13-0. Later, the Saints took possession on their own 49. Johnny G. tore 25y to the 26. A few plays later, he scored again when he found a hole at RT and sprinted 20y.
  • Q3: The Knights took the kickoff and executed another 51y march for their fourth TD. Giambelluca got 18, Joe Cronin picked up 10, and Anthony Hagstette added 20 for a first down at the 5. Randy Oddo did the honors on a RE sweep.
  • Q4: An INT by Donald Delatte on the SA 17 started the ball rolling for the Saints' longest drive of the night. They traversed 83y in eight plays with Delatte fittingly capping the drive he started with a 29y aerial to Cronin. The host team avoided a shutout late in the game when T Prier Leary recovered a fumble on the SA 26. QB Bob Lobrano tossed a 25y pass to E Steve Dutaue to the 1. Lobrano went off RT for the 6. Malvin Wilson converted.

Andy Douglass's 1960 outfit finished 9-2 for the best winning % in school history.

Altogether Aloysius played the Stanislaus varsity 21 times, winning 11, losing 9, and tying 1. The Crusaders also had a 1-0-1 record against the SSC Reserves in years when the New Orleans school could not compete with the Rock-a-Chaw varsity.
1960 St. Aloysius Crusaders
Brother Martin Gridiron Debut

Chris Ezzell
Chris Ezzell

Coach Bourgeois greets Dennis Sabrio

Sabrio addresses the huddle

The first football game of Brother Martin High School occurred on Friday, September 5, 1969, at Tad Gormley Stadium.
The squad had played a scoreless tie with Chalmette in the Owls' Jamboree a week earlier.
  • Andy Bourgeois, the former LSU Chinese Bandit, and his staff had not been able to have a joint spring practice with the St. Aloysius and Cor Jesu players as a result of a ruling by the LHSAA. So the Aloysius players worked at one end of the Cor Jesu practice field while the Kingsmen went through their drills on the other end.
  • After grueling August workouts, the Crusaders, retaining the Aloysius nickname while wearing the red and gold uniforms of Cor Jesu, took the field against Kennedy, the high school on Wisner Blvd. whose district included Brother Martin for eligibility purposes.
    The game started a streak of ten straight seasons in which the Crusaders opened the season against the Cougars.

A star would emerge for the Crusaders in the very first game.

  • Q1: The Cougars took the opening kickoff and moved to the BM 42 where they were forced to punt. That would turn out to be their only penetration of Martin territory in the half. The two sides traded punts until two minutes remained in the period. That's when senior Eddie Ezzell fielded a kick and handed the pigskin to his younger brother Chris who scampered 91y down the east sidelines in front of the Martin bench to pay dirt. Senior Steve Hooks booted the extra point. Martin 7 Kennedy 0
  • Q2: The defenses continued to dominate to the point where the Crusaders could not make a first down the entire 24 minutes before intermission. Fortunately, JFK didn't sniff the end zone either. Halftime score: Martin 7 Kennedy 0
  • Q3: The Crusader offense came to life, taking the kickoff and driving 64y in ten plays to double their lead. Chris Ezzell capped the advance by sweeping RE from 11y out. Hooks' PAT kick sailed true. Martin 14 Kennedy 0
    The Saders were right back in business when senior Gary Spiess recovered a fumble on the Cougars' first play on the ensuing possession. Eight straight runs put the ball on the 1 from where senior QB Dennis Sabrio kept over LG for six. Martin 21 Kennedy 0
    Another fumble recovery, this one by senior Gill Shaw on the last play of the period, set up the final Crimson tally.
  • Q4: It took only one play to cover the 43y as Sabrio, evading a blitz, fired a strike to Chris Ezzell, who gathered in the ball at the 28 and ran in untouched for his third TD of the evening. Hooks went 4-for-4. Martin 28 Kennedy 0
    The Cougars cranked up their only long drive late in the period, moving from their own 27 to the 2 where QB Wayne Giffin cracked over for what would have been a score, but an illegal motion penalty negated the play. On the next snap, Giffin fumbled and Shaw was again Johnny-on-the spot to preserve the shutout in the last minute. Final: Martin 28 Kennedy 0

The stats showed a more equal game than the scoreboard.

  • Each side gained 10 first downs.
  • Rushing yards favored the Crusaders by only two, 117-115.
  • But Martin gained 93y through the air - almost half coming via the TD throw to Ezzell - on only three completions in ten attempts.
  • The glaring disparity came in fumbles lost - four by the Cougars to only one by the Saders.

The first Brother Martin squad finished 4-5 in Bourgeois's only year at the helm before taking a position with the Houston Oilers.

First Brother Martin Gridiron Victory over Jesuit

Coaches Bob Conlin and
Chubby Marks

Joey Mattingly

The 1972 Brother Martin Crusaders took the field against Jesuit on a mission – end the Blue Jays' three-game winning streak and score the first victory for the merged school on Elysian Fields Avenue over their Banks Street rivals. Jesuit had administered the only blemish on Bro­ther Martin's 1971 season,16-0, a defeat that caused Coach Bob Conlin to turn to the wishbone attack that produced the only football state championship in school history.

9,000 saw the Saders take advantage of turnovers for a 33-0 pum­meling of Coach John Arms' squad.

  • The halftime score of 13-0 didn’t reflect the Saders' dominance, 129y to 34.
  • The scoring began after LB Henry Nuss pounced on a fumble at the Jay 27. On the first play, sophomore HB Henry Thomas burst into the end zone.
  • After failing to take advantage of another fumble recovery and an interception, BM generated a 63y TD drive in Q2. Junior Owen Riemer, Thomas, and junior Ray Aubert took turns pun­ishing the Jesuit D until the ball reached the 14. Senior QB Joey Mattingly, rolling left, fired a strike to Aubert on the 3, and the FB bulled his way across. Senior Darryl Brue's PAT kick was true.

After a scoreless Q3, the roof fell in on the Blue Jays.

  • Junior Gerald Clark picked off Al Foley's pass to set another scoring march in motion. On 4th-and-9, Mattingly rolled right and hit senior WR Scooter Parris on the 1. Riemer did the honors from there, and freshman Louis Ernst's PAT made it 20-0.
  • With 1:41 remaining, Buddy Cauvin grabbed a stray pitchout and rambled 40y untouched to make it 26-0.
  • But the onslaught was still not over. The sixth Jay fumble of the evening set up the Crusaders on the 15. With three seconds left, senior Chris Kirschenheuter danced 10y to put the finishing touch on a glorious evening.

The triumph, the Crusaders' 14th in a row over two seasons, became the first of six straight for the Crimson over the Blue.

Henry Thomas

Darryl Brue

Tough Playoff Loss
The 8-1-1 Crusaders, the 11-AAAA runner-up, met undefeated West Jefferson in the first round of the 1974 state playoffs at Tad Gormley Stadium.

All scoring in the defensive struggle came in Q2.

  • West Jeff knocked at the door during Q1 after recovering a fumble at midfield. The Bucs drove to the 13 before a clipping penalty set the ball back to the 33.
  • On the second snap of Q2, Sader RB Julian Brignac bolted 79y to the Buccaneer 10. However, BM had to settle for a 25y FG by QB Lou Ernst. Brignac would lead all rushers with 97y on 12 carries while Ernst gained 51y on his 10 tries.
  • Energized by their defensive mates' stand, the WJ offense rolled 70y in 18 plays. The drive should have been stopped when the Bucs punted near midfield, but a clipping penalty gave them new life at the BM 49. At that point, Dean Danos came off the bench to direct the rest of the march, which culminated in Tony Mott's 2y run 1:39 before halftime.

The Crusader D repelled all Buc invasions in the second half but were never able to penetrate the enemy Red Zone.

  • The West Bankers drove all the way to the BM 1 in Q3 before Mark Ippolito and the middle of the Crusader line stuffed Danos on fourth down. On the previous play, BM was offside, but WJ refused the penalty which would have given them third down over again from the 2.
  • On their next possession, the Buccaneers reached the 6 before DT Kevin Lair recovered an errant pitchout at the 14.
  • The Crusaders then staged a dramatic drive to the 29 only to be stopped by an incompletion on fourth and 4.
  • WJ made one first down to run out the clock.

Julian Brignac

Kevin Lair

Undefeated No More

Tommy Prats

Bruce Daigle

Reggie Gaines

Frank Rancatore

Gary Giepert

The 1979 Brother Martin Crusaders made their annual trip to St. Bernard Parish to play the unbeaten Chalmette Owls in a District 11-AAAA clash at Suarez Stadium Friday, October 12.
  • After losing to St. Augustine 7-0 two weeks earlier, the 4-1 Crusaders couldn't afford another district loss. They had bounced back the following week with a 47-0 shellacking of De La Salle on homecoming.
  • "Hy Skuul," the Times-Picayune prep picker, wrote this about the game:

Home has been good to Owls past several years. Give edge to Owls' run­ning game here, primarily because of city's leading rusher Bobby Mayfield. Give edge to Owls QB tandem of Travis Monroe and Keith Monroe. Owls' offensive line, led by C Sal Ibieta, will face toughest defensive front line this season in Crusaders'. If BM is able to stop Mayfield's progress up the mid­dle, it could be long night for Owls. If not, Owls will prevail because there's no ground game finer than theirs. Take Chalmette.

  • Mayfield had compiled 635y and seven TDs in five games running behind tackles Tom Giglio and Darryl Hickey, guards Pat Ford and Ray Simon, C Ibieta, and TE Joey Ducote. This group made their coach, Bobby Nuss, a stalwart lineman at St. Aloysius ('48) and Tulane, quite proud.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Owls had held De La Salle and Holy Cross scoreless in their last two district outings.

Bob Conlin's club mirrored Nuss's approach with a solid running game and a staunch defense.

  • RBs Marlon Yarbrough (260y) and Tommy Prats (248) along with QB Reggie Gaines (234) led the ground attack.
  • On defense, John Munoz, Frank Rancatore, Steve Gallo, Gary Giepert, Pete Algero, and friends had allowed just one TD in two district games and 20 points overall.

If the game pitted the irresistible force against the immovable object, the immovable object won.

  • Chubby Marks's defense held the Chalmette ground game, which had been averaging 260y, to just 46 and Mr. Mayfield to only 28.
  • The result was a 9-0 victory that toppled the Owls from the ranks of the un­beaten.

The Crusaders got on the board following Billy Hutto's short punt, a 9-yarder that gave BM possession at the Owl 36 before the big homecoming crowd had gotten settled after just three minutes of play.

  • Yarbrough carried four straight times to the 6 before Gaines was nailed for an 8y loss.
  • On 4h down, Frank Rancatore booted a 31y FG for a 3-0 lead with 7:53 re­maining in the opening period.

The home team got a splendid chance to retaliate on the first play of Q2.

  • RB Bruce Daigle fumbled and DT Mario Lopreore recovered at the BM 8.
  • Mayfield tried the left side for 3. Then Gino Guarino pushed for 2, and May­field took it to the 1.
  • Nuss gave the green light to go for it, but Mayfield was stopped short.

But the Owls were soon back in business at the BM 30.

  • They quickly drove to the 15, but two motion penalties moved them back to the 25.
  • Hutto's 38y FG skidded off to the left.
  • The half ended with each club gaining only two first downs, and Chalmette holding the total offense edge 56-47.

When play resumed, the Owls again came knocking on the door.

  • Just four plays into the half, Randy Miller recovered a fumble at the BM 30.
  • On 3rd-and-10, Keith Mason attempted to pitch back to Jeff Guillot, who bobbled the ball to Kevin Chambers. The DT rambled all the way to the Owl 14, where he lost the ball when Mason tackled him.
  • Forced to punt after three plays, Hutto again shanked the ball, which bounced out of bounds at the 21 for a net of 8y.

The Crusaders took advantage of their break to increase their lead.

  • Yarbrough banged for 3 before an incomplete pass made it 3rd-and-7.
  • Gaines then connected with Daigle for a 9-0 lead.

The way the Sader D was playing, the lead looked insurmountable.

  • As the game entered the last five minutes, the Owls attempted a 4th down pass from punt formation. Hutto's pass hit Joey Ducote on the numbers, but the ball fell to the turf.
  • Marlon's fine running - 122y on 27 carries - enabled the Crusaders to run out the clock.
  • During the evening, each member of the Sader secondary picked off a pass - Daigle, Juan McWilliams, Joe Madron, and Mark Harris.

Conlin: We thought we could shut 'em down. But we didn't know to what extent. We didn't know if we could shut 'em down all night long. Any time you hold a club like Chal­mette off the scoreboard, you've done a job. Chubby Marks and Ray Haney did a great job of preparing our kids. ... I think it went our way tonight, and, in this league, things got to go right to win, and tonight it did. This league - it's like playing in college. On consecu­tive weekends, you got Southern Cal, then Alabama, then Notre Dame, then they throw in Michigan for lagniappe.

Senior Gary Giepert made 16 individual tackles. Our D has really pulled together, and we're really physical.

The '79 Crusaders would finish 7-3 but miss the playoffs.

Momentum for Next Year

Carl Thierry

David Ward

The young and inexperienced 1981 Crusaders approached the final game of the season with a 2-7 record.
  • The opponent was District 11-AAAA rival Chalmette at Suarez Stadium. Bill Chimento's youthful Owls enter­ed the fray with a 3-6 mark.
  • The game had no playoff implications, but you'd never know that from the zest with which both teams play­ed.

A homecoming crowd of 4,000 saw their Owls trail the en­tire game until rallying in the final period.

  • After a scoreless Q1, the Crusaders scored the first TD following a poor Owl punt. Taking over on the en­emy 29, BM took six plays to reach the EZ on senior FB Carl Thierry's 1y plunge with 5:45 left before half­time. Mike Nettles' kick split the uprights.
  • The Saders ran 38 offensive plays to Chalmette's 17 in the first 24 minutes.
  • Junior QB David Ward exploded off LT for 20y to make it 13-0 with 2:48 left in Q3. The scamper culmi­nated a nine-play 74y march with all the yardage coming on the ground. The PAT failed, leaving it 13-0. Ward would lead all rushers for the evening with 113y on 20 carries.
  • The home team finally dented the scoreboard on Greg Cordes's 7y LE sweep with 7:09 to play. The tally capped a seven-play 80y drive, which was aided by a questionable 45y pass interference call that put the ball at the 8. Mike Finn's EP made it 13-7.

That set the stage for an exciting finish.

  • The Crusaders seemed to be in good shape when the Owls' onside kick attempt failed.
  • But the defense forced Martin's first punt of the win­dy evening, the boot by Ward traveling 24y to the 9.
  • The Owls got out of their own territory in a hurry. A 24y pass from Bubby Bodden to Hank Ibieta and consecutive 15y penalties put them in business at the Sader 29.
  • Mike Brossette gained 14. Then Clyde Powell did the same to make it 1st-and-goal at the 1. Crusader fans began to rue the missed PAT.
  • But three sneaks by QB Bodden went nowhere.
  • On 4th down, Bodden gave the ball to Cordes driving over RT only to be met by a gang of defenders who halted him inches short.

Bob Conlin's team would rebound in 1982 to finish 8-2.

Mike Nettles

Tommy Clapp, one of the leaders of the BM defense

Most Productive Evening


Joey DiSalvo

Brother Martin entered its 1991 regular season football finale against Rummel with its playoff status on the line.
  • The 4-5 Crusaders could finish in a tie for second in District 10-5A with a victory or miss the playoffs with a loss.
  • 6,000 fans at Joe Yenni Stadium saw the Saders crank up their wish­bone offense early, scoring three TDs in the first half on drives of just 31, 33, and 23y. Senior QB Joe DiSalvo tallied the first six-pointer on a 2y run. Shortly afterward, junior RB Dante Ascani scored the first of his two TDs on a 10y run. Then, after one of four Crusader fumble recove­ries, junior Marc Williams took it over from the 2 for an 18-0 halftime lead.
  • Any hope the Raiders had of getting back in the game were dashed by another fumble on their first possession of the second half. Senior Ray Marshall's recovery set up junior Frank Caracci's 34y gallop for a 24-0 advantage.
  • Later in Q3, Rummel finally got on the board after a fumble recovery of their own. A 4y TD run and a two-point conversion pass cut the lead to 24-8 with 4:06 left in the period.
  • The game took a controversial turn when Martin lined up in a short punt formation on 4th-and-1 at its 36. The Crusaders shifted and drew the defense offside. Three plays later, Ascani broke loose from 42y out to make it 30-8. Raider coaches argued the 4th down shift was illegal be­cause DiSalvo had his hands under C. "I just lined up behind C," said Joey. The officials explained that no hands were placed under C. So the shifting by more than one player was legal.
  • Rummel added a TD on a 6y run before DiSalvo swept LE on 4th-and­goal from the 4 with 1:13 to play to make the final score 37-14.

Bob Conlin's team finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Rummel and St. Augustine behind district champion Shaw. The point system sent the Saders and Raiders into the playoffs and eliminated the Purple Knights.

Marc Williams
Crusaders vs Future Pros: Leroy Hoard

Leroy Hoard, Michigan
Ann Arbor News file photo

Leroy Hoard
Cleveland Plain Dealer file photo

After an outstanding two years at St. Augustine, RB Leroy Hoard played three years at Michigan before forging a ten-year career in the NFL.

The Crusaders faced Leroy twice, splitting the two contests.

  • 1984
    The 2-1 Crusaders met the 2-1 Purple Knights Saturday night, Septem­ber 21, at Tad Gormley Stadium. Hoard, a junior, was the hub of the St. Aug. rushing attack.
    The Knights led only 17-14 at halftime but broke open the tight game with 20 unanswered points in the 2nd half to win 37-14. Hoard scored on runs of 59, 16, and 12y. He totaled 134y for the evening.

    Kenny Nicolosi runs against St. Augustine in 1984.
  • 1985
    "We played about as well as we can possibly play," said Bob Conlin after his Crusaders stifled the Purple Knights 20-6 before 6,000 fans Friday night, November 1. Martin improved its record to 8-1 while St. Aug. fell to 6-3. The Sader defense stopped Hoard for no gain or lost yardage seven times. He ended up with just 57y on 21 carries. St. Aug.'s last gasp ended when Hoard tried to pass out of punt formation but was smothered for an 18y loss at the Knight 8. That allowed the Crusaders to score the clinch­ing TD five plays later when QB Garrett Chachere sneaked in from the 1.
    Conlin praised his defense and the St. Aug. HB at the same time. We did a good job on defense. Anytime you stop Leroy, you've done something. He is just tremendous. I wish I had one like him. Just one.
    The '85 Crusaders went all the way to the semifinals of the AAA state playoffs before losing a heartbreaker at St. Martinville 14-7.

Hoard continued his fine play at the college and pro levels.

  • He ran for 1,706y in three years at Michigan and scored 19 TDs. He added 199y receiving.
  • He gained 3,964y rushing and added another 2,430 receiving with the Browns, Ravens, and Vikings. He added exactly 400y on kickoff returns. He made the 1994 Pro Bowl squad.