ALGIERS — Andre Anthony didn’t know if he would be able to play football this season. Now he’s trying to win a state championship.
Karr’s standout defensive end has endured much this season, and it’s been evident each time he’s taken the field his senior season.
From the LHSAA hearings regarding his transfer from Miller-McCoy to being sidelined for three games to the opportunity to earn a state championship ring Saturday in the Class 4A title game, Anthony has survived an emotional roller coaster.
It’s no wonder he constantly wears those emotions on his sleeves.
“This is what I came here for: to win a state championship,” Anthony said. “From the summer to the spring to when the season started, it’s been about a state championship. That’s what we’re striving for.”
State championships are expected at Karr. They were merely a pipe dream at Miller-McCoy.
Two of Anthony’s three seasons at the New Orleans East school ended in the first round of the playoffs. Back then, Anthony wasn’t emotional after losses; instead, they were accepted as the norm.
“After the first time, it was a hurtful feeling. But after a while, it was a usual feeling,” Anthony said. “It didn’t mean that much to me, but coming here and advancing to the second round and beyond, it’s a good feeling. I was eager to make my presence known and help the team out.”
Anthony was forced to sit out Karr’s first three games after transferring, which coincided with the Cougars’ 0-3 start. More painful than the losses was that Anthony couldn’t be there to help his teammates.
Upon Anthony’s debut, Karr reeled off four consecutive wins and notched eight victories in the past nine games. That includes the playoffs, uncharted territory for the LSU commitment.
After Karr defeated Franklinton 34-21 last week, Anthony was overwhelmed with tears. He and his team were going to play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a notion that at this time a year ago was simply untenable.
“Even though we were down, it’s been about finishing: finishing hard and finishing games off,” Anthony said. “Watching the clock wind down with two minutes left, the defense was on the field. It was an exciting moment.”
Finishing is all that’s left to do for Karr and Anthony. Only top-seeded Neville stands in the way.
Last December, Anthony watched from the crowd as Neville edged Easton to win the 4A championship. That was the last time Anthony was in the Dome.
The blue-chipper had a gut feeling his second trip to the Dome could be as a member of the Karr football team in this exact position. Realizing that dream come to fruition has continued to resonate with the Cougars’ emotional leader.
“I had a feeling we could be here,” Anthony said. “We had the team. We had the players. We had the coaches to make this year. And once we did, it was a crazy feeling. Right now, I’m keeping calm, trying to focus so we can come out with a win. But when I touch the field during the walk-through and game day, there’s going to be a lot of excitement.”