A three-year starter at quarterback.
Several players who will keep college coaches making their way to Severn Avenue in Metairie.
A coach closing in on victory No. 200.
It all adds up to what could be a special year for Rummel, ranked No. 1 in The New Orleans Advocate’s preseason Large School Super 10.
“We handle it the same as every year,” senior cornerback Kristian Fulton said. “We have high expectations every year.”
This year is no exception for the Raiders, who enter the season not only ranked No. 1 in the Super 10 but also ranked nationally. MaxPreps ranks Rummel as the No. 21 team in the country.
“It’s not mentioned by any of the players at this point,” coach Jay Roth said. “On paper and from what people are saying, we have some pretty good players. But it takes 11 guys playing together. So I’m hoping some of these players that have been identified as blue-chip stars can pull everybody together and make everybody play up their level. We have some talent, and I can’t deny that. Everybody else has to step up, though.”
Chase Fourcade, who has committed to Nicholls State, returns at quarterback to lead the Raiders’ offense.
Fourcade and Fulton are part of a senior class looking to lead Rummel to its third title in four seasons.
If things had gone as planned last season, this could be 4-for-4. Rummel, which won the Catholic League and was undefeated in the regular season, lost to eventual champion Jesuit in the Division I select semifinals.
“Last year, it was a nice 11-week ride that we had, but we fell short,” said Roth, who has a 195-48 career record.
They’ve tried to put that 28-14 defeat behind them.
“It still stings, because that was a year that we thought we could have won it all,” Fourcade said. “We had a great team last year. We learned that a district championship is not all that we want. That’s our motivation now, to take one game at a time.”
And for the Raiders, every one of those games will be tough. In addition to a challenging Catholic League slate, the Raiders play nondistrict games against Division II select champion University High, Covington, Wayne County (Mississippi) and Don Bosco of New Jersey. Both of the games against out-of-state opponents are on the road, marking the first time in Roth’s 21 seasons that he has taken his team out of Louisiana.
“I thought this may be the team to see how we can stack up,” he said.
On paper, they do. But last season was a reminder that sometimes that isn’t enough.
“We can’t go out there and think we’re going to win just because everybody else says we are going to win,” Fulton said. “You can’t take a week off.”
Fulton and his senior classmates would like nothing more than to play all the way into December and bring the school a third championship in four years.
“It would be great,” he said. “I just want to go out with a bang.”
St. Charles tops small schools
St. Charles Catholic starts the season ranked No. 1 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Small School Super 10, for schools in Class 3A, 2A and 1A.
John Curtis held the No. 1 spot in the small-school rankings every week of the past two seasons, but the Patriots moved up to compete in Class 5A this season.
St. Charles moved from Class 3A to 2A after the LHSAA’s reclassification. The Comets finished 9-3 last season and reached the Division II select semifinals.
They edged district foe Riverside for the top spot in the rankings.
The New Orleans Advocate’s Large Schools Super 10
1. Rummel (2014 record: 11-1)
The Raiders are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, so don’t be surprised if they bring a third state championship trophy in four seasons to Metairie.
2. Landry-Walker (2014 record: 10-3)
The Charging Buccaneers make the leap from 4A to 5A, but they look to be in good hands with junior dual-threat QB Keytaon Thompson running the show.
3. Brother Martin (2014 record: 10-3)
QB Jake Broggi returns for his third year as a starter and has plenty of weapons (Bruce Jordan-Swilling, Irv Smith) as the Crusaders look to build on 2014.
4. John Curtis (2014 record: 10-2)
The Patriots have reached the Superdome every year since 1996. They first have to battle through the rugged Catholic League to make a return to Poydras Street.
5. Destrehan (2014 record: 14-1)
The Wildcats made it to the Superdome last season, falling in the 5A title game. A stacked defensive front could go a long way toward another successful season.
6. John Ehret (2014 record: 9-2)
The Patriots return with a slew of Division I talent, including one of the nation’s top LBs (Michael Divinity) and what should be one of the state’s top defenses.
7. McDonogh 35 (2014 record: 2-8)
Wayne Reese’s Roneagles won just two games last season, but a slew of Division I talent should have them in the thick of the district title race.
8. Hahnville (2014 record: 9-4)
Year 2 of the Nick Saltaformaggio era begins with the tradition-rich Tigers looking to get past district rival Destrehan.
9. Franklinton (2014 record: 12-1)
The Demons were one game away from the Dome last season before losing to eventual champion Neville, but this squad could be just as talented.
10. Karr (2014 record: 8-4)
The Cougars have their third coach in four seasons as Brice Brown takes over, but talent is never scarce at Karr. QB Aldon Clark is back to lead the offense.
The New Orleans Advocate’s Small Schools Super 10
1. St. Charles catholic (2014 record: 9-3)
Frank Monica’s Comets drop from 3A to 2A, and they start the season at the top of the rankings. John Curtis held the top spot every week for the past two years.
2. Riverside (2014 record: 12-1)
Two-sport star Herb McGee returns and will be the go-to guy for an offense that averaged 46.9 points on its way to the Division III select state semis.
3. Newman (2014 record: 11-2)
The Greenies lost some key pieces off last year’s team, which made it to the Division III select semifinals, but will still be in the mix.
4. West St. John (2014 record: 10-3)
Robert Valdez left for Scotlandville, but don’t expect any dropoff under interim coach Brandon Walters as the Rams move from 1A to 2A.
5. McMain (2014 record: 6-5)
The Mustangs went 5-6 in 2013 and 6-5 and 2014, but the win total should increase again with QB Darnell Williams and Co. returning.
6. De La Salle (2014 record: 8-4)
The Cavaliers lost RB Cole Lewis and QB Victor Gaines, but with WR Christian Booker back, the cupboard is far from bare.
7. Thomas Jefferson (2014 record: 6-4)
The Jaguars make the drop from 3A to 2A, which should be much friendlier to a team that reached the playoffs in 2014.
8. St. James (2014 record: 8-5)
If QB Lowell Narcisse weren’t going to miss the season with a torn ACL, the Wildcats would be much higher as they jump from 2A to 3A.
9. Country Day (2014 record: 7-4)
RB Jase Griffin and WR Trey Harrell should make the 1A-to-2A transition much smoother for first-year coach Joe Chango.
10. Northlake Christian (2014 record: 9-3)
The Wolverines are 20-4 over the past two seasons, and that success likely will continue on the north shore.