In a perfect football world, they would have played last year during both schools’ magical seasons.
But we get the next best thing.
Warren Easton and Jesuit will help kick off the high school football season when they battle for neighborhood bragging rights on Thursday night at 7 at Tad Gormley Stadium.
It’s the first meeting between the schools since 2004.
You know that old saying about birds of a feather flocking together?
Well, it surely applies to this season opener.
The Blue Jays and Eagles have plenty in common this year as they try to show that the sequel (this season) can indeed be just as good as the original (last year).
Much has been written about their storybook 2014 seasons.
Both teams made the short trip to the Superdome and ended title game droughts that had been around way before any of the players were born.
Heck, the Eagles coach wasn’t even born the last time the Eagles had played for a title.
For Easton, which lost to Neville in the 4A title game, it was the first trip to the championship game since 1958.
For Jesuit, which won the Division I title, it was the school’s first state championship appearance since 1978 and first time winning it all since 1960.
So, yes, there was plenty to celebrate last season.
But asking history to repeat itself may be asking for a lot.
Neither team, despite last year’s success, is ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large School Super 10.
Both teams lost a ton of talent from last year, so here’s a little advice to all the bird watchers coming to Gormley: buy a game program to help you identify some of the new names and numbers.
The biggest change is at quarterback.
The teams graduated a pair of guys who combined to complete 419 passes and 79 touchdowns.
Easton’s Deshawn Capers-Smith, who won basically every individual Louisiana award possible last season, and Jesuit’s Trey LaForge collectively threw for 7,882 yards last year.
That converts to a little more than four miles, which could get you two round trips from Banks Street to Canal Street to and from the schools located just a mile apart.
Collectively, LaForge and Capers-Smith wear a size 24 shoe (that’s a 13 for LaForge and an 11 for Capers-Smith) making for some pretty big shoes for their predecessors to fill.
Peter Hontas replaces LaForge, while Tyriek Starks has to step into the giant shadows of Capers-Smith, who also rushed for 1,318 yards and 21 touchdowns in a jaw-dropping senior season.
“It doesn’t look like they have missed a beat,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “The quarterback they had last year was a special player, but I think the one they have now is going to be as good as he was.”
But there are plenty of other key losses as well.
Jesuit also lost a pair of running backs who eclipsed 1,000 yards last season and a tight end (Foster Moreau) now at LSU.
Easton sent a playmaker to LSU as well in wide receiver Tyron Johnson, who some rated as the nation’s top player at his position last season.
The similarities don’t stop there.
Both teams are coming off dominating performances in last week’s jamborees.
Easton throttled overmatched Clark 47-0 and Jesuit beat Hahnville 17-0.
Jesuit’s performance came one week after a subpar outing against McDonogh 35 in a scrimmage.
“We definitely made a lot of strides,” Songy said. “McDonogh 35 is very talented, but we were disappointed in the way we approached our work that day, so we went back to the drawing board. We have a lot of guys who didn’t play a lot last year, so we are having to grow up in a hurry.”
The same can be said for Easton, which leads the series 23-20-4.
Make that 24-20-4 after Thursday.
Eagles rule the nest.
My pick: Easton 27, Jesuit 10.