As St. Augustine’s football team approaches its Friday night playoff game against Jesuit, coach Cyril Crutchfield hopes the numbers are finally aligning for his young team.
Most of this season, the numbers have not been kind to St. Aug., a team that saw a bus load of seniors graduate from last year’s team, 13 of whom received scholarships to play at the college level.
“It all boils down to every week we now start off 0-0,” Crutchfield said as his team prepares for its Division I first-round playoff against District 9-5A rival Jesuit on Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium. “On (a) particular night, if you can’t be 1-0, you’re done.
“Basically there are teams undefeated right now that are not going to win a state championship. There are some teams that are going to win a state championship with one loss, two losses, three, maybe four, or five losses.”
The Knights, enter the game with a 4-5 record, 1-4 in district, after losing to the Jays this past Friday. The Knights are seeded 11th. A year ago Crutchfield’s team was nationally ranked and led by LSU freshman star Leonard Fournette. That group lost to state champion Rummel in the semifinals.
Crutchfield said playing Jesuit (8-2, 4-1 , sixth-seeded) twice within eight days was not a problem.
“I think that’s good,” he said. “Because I think they’re one of the better teams in the state, and if we can’t play with them, we’re just wasting our time anyway.”
Jesuit won last week’s matchup 34-20. The margin of victory for the Jays was provided by two Jesuit kickoffs that were recovered by Jays.
Inexperience again hurt the Knights.
“At this point (our) guys have got to grow up,” Crutchfield said. “We’ve got to do a better job of coaching them up. We don’t have anything to lose so we’re just going to go out and play.”
Jesuit coach Mark Songy will be interested in whether one key Knight plays. Wide receiver Stanley Morgan has missed the past two games, but Songy expects him to play.
“When Morgan’s on the field, they are a different football team on both sides of the ball,” Songy said.
“The fact that Morgan and their (place-) kicker were out last week, that effects them. When Stanley’s in the game, their defense plays with more confidence. ... I think they realize they can score a bunch of points with him.”
Crutchfield paused before answering the Morgan question. “Ummm … I don’t know yet. I wouldn’t say anyway,” he said with a chuckle.
Songy said the Jays, No. 3 in the New Orleans Advocate’s Large School Super 10, have discussed “the heightened expectations” of the playoffs.
“There’s a heightened sense of this could be over real soon if we don’t take care of business,” said Songy. “We talked about it (Tuesday). Is this our last Monday together?
“We certainly can’t take it for granted that we came out on top of St. Aug. There needs to be an approach on our part that it’s a brand-new season, a brand-new ballgame and a brand new opponent.