Chandler Fields is just a freshman, not quite old enough to remember all the guys from the 2005 team clad in gold T-shirts cheering him on from the Tad Gormley sidelines Friday night.
Fields, the 5-foot-10, 175 pound Holy Cross quarterback, was only five when those guys beat Jesuit 10 years ago in the Hurricane Katrina-interrupted season to keep one of the nation’s longest continuous rivalries going.
They were recognized at halftime.
Fields was recognized after the game.
Fields, with ice water seemingly running through his 15-year old veins, etched his name in the latest chapter of the series, throwing a pair of touchdowns in each of the overtime possessions to give the Tigers a thrilling 28-21 double-overtime victory and help the Golden Football Trophy make its way back to Paris Avenue.
One of the youngest players on the field walked away with the Most Valuable Player Trophy in a game that will be talked about for years.
His biggest play was a clutch fourth down, make-or-go-home completion to Bret Carter in the first overtime.
He eluded a tackler before finding Carter, who made a highlight-reel grab.
“I saw the defensive end come up, and I knew I had to make a move,” Fields explained. “I saw (Carter) got some separation. I threw it up, and he made a play for me.”
Moments later, he hit Tyler Hamm in the second overtime for what proved to be the game-winner.
He finished 9 of 14 for 110 yards and three touchdowns.
Not bad for a guy who was thrust into the starting role this season after Kyle Schexnayder suffered a foot injury.
He now has the Tigers, ranked No. 10 in The New Orleans Advocate Large School Super 10, off to a 4-1 start.
They’ve won three straight after a season opening loss to Mandeville. But none of those games was bigger than this one, played before a crowd estimated at between 10 and 12,000.
None of them probably could tell he was a freshman, especially in the clutch.
“First couple snaps, I was nervous, but I got used to it,” he said. “It was awesome. To feel the atmosphere on the field is pretty sweet.”
This one was lot a different from the two times he faced Jesuit last season playing eighth-grade football.
The crowds there were much smaller.
And he lost to the Blue Jays twice a season ago.
“We lost by seven points once, and then we lost with a minute left,” he recalled. “So this one feels good.”
Fields got the start Friday, but then was relieved by Schexnayder, who led the Tigers on the game-tying drive in regulation.
But the Tigers went with Fields in overtime.
“It was just something we had to feel, but inside the 10 we thought we could throw or pass so we went with him,” Holy Cross quarterback coach Lou Wineski said. “Most of the time he is in control. He has a strong enough arm to do what we ask him to do, and he gets the job done.”
He wears No. 18, like his idol Peyton Manning, and was poised like his childhood hero when the Tigers needed it most.
Wineski wasn’t surprised.
“We knew he was going to be special and he still is going to be,” Wineski said. “He still has a ways to go. But he played well tonight and we got a victory out of it.”
Just five games into his high school career, he already has started in wins against rivals Chalmette and now Jesuit.
Fields gets three more shots at Jesuit in the 97th, 98th and 99th installment of the great rivalry.
But for now, he’ll savor this one.
Biggest win of your young life, I asked?
“For sure, he said. “For sure.”