It’ll be Black Friday, so get there early to beat the crowds.
No, I’m not talking about your favorite shopping spot.
I’m referring to all the football stadiums that have heavyweight playoff matchups featuring local teams.
The Black Friday schedule has plenty of big-time games on tap.
Hahnville at Destrehan.
Curtis vs. Brother Martin.
Landry-Walker at Franklinton.
Neville vs. Karr.
Riverside at Calvary Baptist.
Catholic-New Iberia at Newman.
And if you think Black Friday’s football schedule is epic, stick around for Red and Blue Saturday.
That’s Rummel red. And Jesuit blue.
Rummel and Jesuit will play at 6 p.m. Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium in what could be the marquee matchup in a weekend filled with them.
It will be the second meeting in five weeks between the two Catholic League schools.
The stakes are much higher this time. The winner of the Division I semifinal battle heads to the Superdome next week to play for a state title.
Rummel won the first game in a 10-7 slugfest.
But Raiders coach Jay Roth has preached to his team how irrelevant that earlier victory is now.
“Bragging rights for Rummel and Jesuit for the year 2014 is going to be determined by the second game,” Roth said. “Our kids realize that what we did the first time against Jesuit means nothing Saturday night.”
It’s a lesson his team learned firsthand last season.
His Rummel team lost to eventual Catholic League champion St. Augustine 35-21 in the 2013 regular season, but then upset the heavily-favored Purple Knights 31-28 in the semifinals and went on to claim its second straight state championship.
“If you look at last year, nobody remembers that St. Aug beat us bad the first time,” Roth said. “They remember that we won the second time.”
Now the 2014 Jesuit team looks to do what the 2013 Rummel team did: upset the heavy favorite in the rematch.
“We don’t look so much as this being a second chance,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “We wish the first game would have come out better for us. But the gravity of the situation is that it’s the semifinals. I think that’s probably more important. Regardless of who you are playing, if you win this week it gives you a chance to play in the Superdome.”
But does losing the first game give Jesuit an edge in the rematch?
Songy doesn’t think so.
“You only look at the first game as a reference,” he said. “So many things have changed for us and for them since then. We have gotten better and changed things, and they have as well. So I don’t know if that gives you an advantage or disadvantage.”
Roth is seeking his third straight trip to the Dome. Songy is seeking his first trip as a head coach. He came close during his first stint as Jesuit coach, reaching the semifinals three times.
“We just couldn’t take that next step,” he said. “I hope that changes this time.”
Something both coaches also want to see change is more offense than the two teams mustered in the first meeting.
“Jay and I were both surprised it was such a low-scoring defensive battle,” Songy said. “I think that goes back to both schools putting a whole lot into playing a lot of defense.”
Said Roth about that first game: “Other than the three- point difference, it was almost like a draw.”
That win helped Rummel win the Catholic League title. Jesuit had to settle for second.
The winner of this one plays for a much bigger title next week.
When the Tad Gormley clock winds down to all zeroes Saturday night, Roth and Songy, friends and former co-workers, will meet for a postgame handshake.
The two coached together at Shaw in the 80s and Roth was Songy’s offensive coordinator for three years at Jesuit in the 90s.
“I’m sure whoever wins, the other will be pulling for the other one next week,” Roth said.
The Jesuit-Rummel winner plays the Brother Martin-Curtis winner Dec. 5 on an even bigger stage.
But this week, the biggest stage is Tad Gormley Stadium on Friday and Saturday night.
Get there early.