With great expectations and lots of adrenaline flowing, the 12th Spartan/Gator Tailgate Shout Out will pit the vocal cords of East Ascension and St. Amant high school fans for a Halloween week showdown.
The event, a yell-fest and celebration of the long-standing cross parish rivals, starts at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center’s Savoy Arena.
East Ascension High School and St. Amant High School students, staff, alumni and fans will once again gather to cheer their respective school on to see who is worthy of the 2014 “Spirit Stick.”
So just how far back does the rivalry between these teams reach? Well, I can only take you as far back as when my dad played quarterback for the Gonzales Bulldogs in 1952. The hot competition between the two teams has been going on for a long time but things have changed just a little, if you know what I mean.
Back in the day, both schools — Gonzales and St. Amant — had giant bonfires with a likeness of the opposing team’s mascot at the top to be burned in effigy when it was lit. Big celebrations went on all week long before the big game. It is rumored that lots of good-hearted pranks would be pulled, with one side always trying to out prank the other.
The rivalry went away in 1966 when St. Amant, Dutchtown and Gonzales combined to form a single high school, East Ascension, with a Spartan as the mascot. As our parish grew, we had to build a new school. St. Amant was the choice of areas and once again the rivalry had a rebirth.
A unique way to celebrate the rivalry was created with a “Shout-Out” when thousands of Spartan and Gator fans would gather in the parking lot of Dalton’s restaurant to listen to band music, a few cheers from the cheerleading teams and speeches from both teams’ head coaches. Then came the noise.
A decibel meter was used to determine the winning school, which would receive the “Spirit Stick” and keep it until the next year’s event. The unique thing about this event was that all the money raised was donated to the schools’ athletic programs.
After a few years of hiatus, the event was brought back in 2008 by James E. LeBlanc, Alan Marrero and Jose Boriel, from St. Amant, along with Ralph Delatte and Tommy Trahan, of EA.
“Since 2008, each school has been awarded a total of $78,000,” stated James LeBlanc, event coordinator. “To be able to hand over $78,000 to these two schools in a six-year period is a true testament of the two communities we live in. We cannot begin to thank our sponsors over the past six years enough.”
Other events for the fundraiser is a jambalaya lunch Oct. 30 in the LeBlanc’s Payless parking lot on Airline Highway in Gonzales. Businesses can place their order this week for delivery.
The “Shout-Out Ryder Cup Shoot Out” golf event will take place Monday at Pelican Point in Gonzales. Last year, 138 golfers took part in the event. The golf tournament last year raised “anywhere between $7,000 to $8,000 total profits,” LeBlanc said.
Contact Bret Hughes (EA) or Camille Trabeau (STA) if you would like to play.
This year’s football game between the Spartans and Gators is Halloween night at The Pit in St. Amant. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Bring the kids to the stadium in their Halloween costume for some great treats.
It’s not too late to get in on the fundraiser.
“This is what this whole entire event is about, raising money for these two schools and coming together as a community to do so,” LeBlanc said.
For more information on the event, call LeBlanc at (225) 445-5766 or Derek J. LeBlanc at (225) 313-5775. You also can call Sherri Jenkins at (225) 644-4820 for jambalaya sales.
The Bulldogs of Ascension Catholic (6-1, 2-0) celebrated homecoming with a 62-7 victory over the Ascension Christian Lions. The Bulldogs will travel to West St. John for a 7 p.m. kickoff as the Lions of ACH (2-5, 0-2) will travel to White Castle for their 7 p.m. kickoff time.
The Donaldsonville Tigers (3-4, 0-2) took one on the chin as the Patterson Lumberjacks handed the visitors a 43-13 defeat in a road game. Donaldsonville will take on the Berwick Panthers at home with a 7 p.m. kickoff time.
Griffin fans held their breath as the Dutchtown placekicker, Justin Reid, lined up for an attempt at a 50-yard field goal. Catholic High’s Brandon Fairbanks’ right hand got just enough of the ball to deflect it and allow the Bears to come away with a 20-17 win at Griffin Field. The Griffins (3-4, 1-1) will take on the Spartans at EA Field on Friday night at 7 p.m.
The East Ascension Spartans lost a 34-27 heartbreaker to the Woodlawn Panthers with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. With the score knotted up at 27-27, Eltorriam Gildersleeve intercepted Kyran Irvin’s pass and returned it for 73 yards and the winning touchdown.
The St. Amant Gators (3-4, 0-2) couldn’t muster up much offense against the McKinley Panthers at The Pit on Friday night and fell to the Panthers 7-3. This week, the Gators will travel to Woodlawn searching for their first district win in a contest that has a 7 p.m. kickoff time.