It’s Jesuit Week.
So it’s a big week at St. Paul’s.
It’s especially big in the Sears’ household.
Ken Sears, the football coach at St. Paul’s, is a Holy Cross graduate.
So, of course he always wants to beat Jesuit.
And his son Kenny Sears is the St. Paul’s quarterback, so he’d like nothing more than to beat the Blue Jays as well.
St. Paul’s and Jesuit may not have a long history of playing each other on the football field as Friday night’s game at Tad Gormley Stadium will be just the third meeting between the Wolves and the Blue Jays — but it’s still a rivalry.
Just ask the younger Sears.
“It’s a huge rivalry,” Sears said. “For our whole school, it’s the game that we want to win.”
It’s a rivalry that started in futbol and has spilled over into football.
In soccer, the two schools have met in the postseason each of the past five seasons, with St. Paul’s winning in the title match in 2015 and in the semifinals in 2014. Jesuit beat St. Paul’s for the soccer state titles the two years before that after St. Paul’s won in 2011.
“It all goes back to soccer,” Sears said. “Our school has a lot of school spirit. Jesuit wins in everything, winning multiple championships in a lot of sports. When that happens, a team has a target on their backs. It would be huge for us to pull out a win.”
In football, the two teams split their only two meetings in the young series.
St. Paul’s beat Jesuit in the 2013 regular season on a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the AllState Sugar Bowl Prep Classic in the Superdome. Jesuit blasted St. Paul’s 49-22 last year in Covington.
“We’ve been looking forward to it since we lost to them last year,” said Sears.
That win two years ago was career win No. 100 for the elder Sears.
His son would like nothing more than to add another win to dad’s win total.
“It’s a really cool bond that my dad and I share,” said Sears, in his fourth year suiting up for his father. “We love to talk football. We always talk college football, pro football everything.”
And separating Dad from Coach isn’t as difficult as you’d think.
“We knew on the field he’s coach and at home he is dad,” Sears said. “It’s like having any other coach. He is a great football coach. Whatever he says goes. It’s nothing unusual. I’m used to it by now.”
Although they played different positions, Ken Sears, a former linebacker, sees a lot of himself in his son.
“He is super competitive just like me,” Ken Sears said. I don’t think I would be coaching if I wasn’t competitive. He is a student of the game. He is really focused when he is out there on the field.”
Sears decided to let someone else coach quarterbacks once he realized his son was going to play the position he’s played since he started playing in the sixth grade.
He’s played quarterback admirably.
Sears is coming off a stellar outing last week in the Wolves’ season opener. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over then-No. 10 ranked Karr. The convincing victory vaulted the Wolves into The New Orleans Advocate’s Super 10 at No. 7.
Now they travel to the south shore to take on the 2014 Division I champs. The Blue Jays are coming off a loss to Easton that snapped their seven-game winning streak dating to last season.
“They have a really big offensive line and are very disciplined and well coached,” said Sears. “I was impressed how they got behind against Easton but still managed to come back and had a chance to win it at the end. They didn’t lose their poise when they got down.”
Sears is one of three coaches on the St. Paul’s staff who went to Holy Cross.
Sears went on to play at Northwestern State, where he graduated.
His son is doing the same, having committed to the school already.
But the similarities don’t end there.
“We both share that appetite for competition,” dad says.
And there’s that one other thing.
They both want to beat Jesuit.
Pick: St. Paul’s 21, Jesuit 17