Holy Cross doesn’t begin its Catholic League schedule until next week.
But chances are, you wouldn’t know it by watching the Tigers in practice this week as they prepare for Friday’s game against rival Chalmette at Bobby Nuss Stadium.
“We’ve been preaching to the players all week that we treat this game like it’s a Catholic League game,” Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo said.
And for years, it was.
It is the 46th meeting between the two schools who competed in the Catholic League from 1970-1989.
But the series didn’t stop after Chalmette went to another district.
The backyard battles continued, skipping only the 2005 season because of Hurricane Katrina.
Holy Cross’ relocation from its old location to Paris Avenue hasn’t done anything to lessen the rivalry.
“This rivalry really built its reputation when we were in the ninth ward,” Rebaudo said. “A lot of Holy Cross players, I’d say about 60 percent, were from Chalmette. Now that we have moved to Gentilly, it’s not quite like that, but there are still some guys from the Chalmette area.”
In fact, Rebaudo has six coaches on his staff who are from Chalmette.
The Tigers and Owls are 1-1, rebounding from Week 1 losses to win last week.
Holy Cross leads the series 31-11-3 and has won three straight in the series.
In order for the Owls to end their skid, they will rely heavily on a potent running game. Masen Mitchell rushed for 144 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Owls’ victory last week over Grace King. Alex Siragusa rushed for 60 yards. Quarterback Dominic Curole, a three-sport star at Chalmette (football, baseball and track) runs the offense.
“They have a very good running,” Rebaudo said. “Defense is (Chalmette) coach (Jason) Tucker’s specialty, so they don’t ever have guys out of position. They always play hard, and they play extremely hard for this game.”
For the Tigers, it will be the first game for running back Tre Turner, expected to return after injuring his shoulder in the scrimmage against Ponchatoula.
Turner, an Arizona State commitment, rushed for 858 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior.
Quarterback Kyle Schexnayder, who has an injured foot, is still doubtful.
Chandler Fields, a freshman, has filled in for Schexnayder and has completed 18 of 39 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
Ashton Smith, who has played in place of Turner, has rushed for 238 yards.
“Chandler and Ashton have filled in their roles nicely,” Rebaudo said. “It’s hard to argue when you are missing a guy like Tre. There is a reason he is committed to Arizona State. And Kyle has a ton of experience. But I like my team. We just need to keep getting better from week to week.”
Defensive back Kyle Myers, a Florida State commitment, and linebacker Jacques Boudreaux (ULL) lead the Tigers on defense. Myers has two interceptions and Boudreaux has recorded 26 tackles.
Defensive linemen Tyler Lund and Hunter Bell, along with defensive backs Mikael Blaise and Kendrick Tinson, head up the Owls defense.