There was a time when Kristian Fulton didn’t want his parents to send him to Rummel.
Fulton wasn’t interested in attending a school that had no girls there.
That was four years ago.
Fast forward to Saturday and the junior cornerback was all smiles and hasn’t thought twice about his parents’ decision.
He and his Rummel teammates had just completed a perfect regular season and wrapped up the Catholic League title in the process with a 45-24 victory over Brother Martin.
Fulton, usually a pretty quiet guy, broke into a little dance postgame as his team waited for the band to play the alma mater.
“I’m glad I came to Rummel,” he said. “This is great. Our No. 1 goal since January was to go undefeated as district champs. It’s a perfect feeling. I’ve never had this feeling as a player.”
Fulton, a ball-hawking cornerback, had two interceptions in the game, pushing his season total to 10.
Not bad considering Fulton missed the first three games recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the spring.
So, that’s actually 10 interceptions in just seven games. Even more impressive is that five of those picks have come in the past eight days.
He picked off three passes last week against Holy Cross, returning one for a touchdown.
His two interceptions Saturday, one in each half, helped turn the momentum of the game. It also was just how many he predicted to his father he would get earlier Saturday morning.
His first one came in the first quarter with Rummel trailing 7-3 when he made a leaping grab near the Rummel sideline.
The Raiders cashed in, scoring just five plays later to take a lead they would never give up. Just three plays before the interception, he was flagged for a pass interference.
“He is a big time playmaker with a short memory,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “You have to be that way when you are cornerback. He makes plays and he gave us momentum in the second half.”
His second pick came off a deflection in the game-changing third quarter when Rummel put the game out of reach to claim the Catholic League title.
Now the Raiders get chance to do it all over again as they go for the Division I title, or what we perhaps should call the Catholic League Plus championship. (The 12-team field consists of the six Catholic League schools, plus St. Paul’s, John Curtis, Baton Rouge Catholic, Evangel Christian, St. Thomas More, and Teurlings Catholic.)
The playoff pairings will be announced Sunday morning.
“You just have to do what you have to do,” Fulton said. “I would rather it be 32 teams, but it’s not so we just have to handle our business. It will be hard to beat the same teams twice, so we know we will have to work extra hard.”
Roth isn’t concerned about that right now. He just wanted to take time to soak in the perfect regular season.
“Out initial goal was to win the Catholic League,” Roth said. “I will worry about having to play somebody twice later. We are proud to have this championship.”
Rummel, the No. 2 seed in the LHSAA power rankings going into Saturday’s game, will have a bye in the first round. It will be a much-needed rest for a team that has played a brutal 10 games in 10 weeks schedule.
Fulton probably doesn’t want a week off after how he has performed the past two weeks.
“He just has great football instincts, with excellent ball skills and just a good athlete,” said Nick Monica, who coaches defensive backs. “Last year was a turning point for him. He started really maturing and learning the defense, and then you combine that with his athletic ability.”
But while Fulton makes plenty of noise off the field, he doesn’t say a whole lot off the field.
“He’s really quiet,” said Michelle Fulton, Kristian’s mom and one of the more vocal fans cheering Saturday. “He’s totally different at home than he is in on the field. We can barely get him to talk.”
He opens up more when talking to his big brother Keith, the person he is closest to. Keith played running back at Rummel last season and is now playing at Mississippi College.
“We talk about everything,” said Keith Fulton II, who was in attendance Saturday as well. “He always talks about how crazy the recruiting is starting to get.”
Fulton, who has a 3.4 grade point average, has about 15 college offers so far, including eight from Southeastern Conference schools.
“Some days we get 10 or 15 pieces of mail,” Michelle said. “He will come in and walk right past it. He’s just real laid back.”
He had to hurry off following after Saturday’s win to make a trip to Baton Rouge to watch the LSU-Alabama game.
He recently told his mom that he wants to trim his list of schools down.
But with Signing Day for him still a year and three months away, he has plenty time to decide.
For now, he’s a Rummel Raider.
And now, he’s proud of it.
Until, of course, he gets on the field.