Dear 2014 high school football season,
I am writing this letter on behalf of the city of New Orleans to let you know how glad we are to finally see you.
We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us, with three games on tap to kick things off on Thursday.
Grace King plays De La Salle at Pan Am Stadium. Thibodaux plays Shaw at Hoss Memtsas and West St. John will help break in St. James’ new dig.
Let me warn you though.
You have a really tough act to follow.
You don’t have the luxury of having guys named Fournette and Malachi and Speedy and Gerald.
But don’t feel bad.
Things aren’t as bad as you might think.
Just ask Jason Howell, mid-south regional analyst for rivals.com.
“I don’t think it’s as heavy at the top,” Howell said. “But there is a lot of depth to it. There are a lot of really good players in this class. There seems to be more quality talent spread throughout though. Last year at the top you had a lot of five-star prospects. This year you have Tyron (Johnson) leading the way.”
It will be up to Johnson, the nation’s top wide receiver prospect, according to some, to provide the Fournette-like highlights this season.
But he has plenty of help.
Guys like Xavier Lewis (East St. John), David Ducre (Lakeshore), Donte Jackson (Riverdale), Stanley Morgan (St. Augustine), and Michael Chigbu (Holy Cross) should help carry the load as well.
JC Schurburtt of 247 doesn’t think this year’s class is too shabby either.
“Last year’s class was special, Schurburrt said. “This one isn’t as star-laden, but you have some really good players in it.”
Shurburrt said consistency of talent will likely be the norm now.
“I think when Katrina hit, it hit a little lull,” Schurburrt said. “But now that New Orleans is back and up and running and healthy, we have seen a lot of talent in Louisiana the last three or four recruiting cycles. Louisiana is an emerging state, or maybe a re-emerging state is a better way to put it in terms of talent.”
So 2014 season, you should be fine as far as talent.
But it will take more than just talent to top your predecessor.
We also need a feel good story like the one East Jefferson gave us last year.
We need a team not rich in football tradition to come out of nowhere and make its way to the Superdome.
Warren Easton, ranked No. 1 in this newspaper’s Super 10 rankings, looks like the ideal candidate. On paper, an undefeated season doesn’t look to be out of the question at all.
Speaking of championships, good luck with those nine state championships that came about last year when the Louisiana High School Athletics Association went to the select and nonselect format.
That caused several lopsided championship games last season. Let’s hope this year it isn’t the same.
You did get one break this year though when John Curtis (along with three other schools) elected to play up in classification this season. That should help.
Oh, and thanks for being so kind to New Orleans last season, giving the city three state championships (Curtis, Rummel and East Jefferson). You even put a little cherry on top with an all-New Orleans area title game. But we’ll worry about that in December.
For now, let me commend you for getting off to a heck of a start.
Friday’s showdown between No. 2 Rummel and No. 4 East St. John could be one of those games we are talking about for the rest of the season. No. 9 Karr at No. 10 St. Paul’s could be a classic as well.
Here’s wishing you the best this season and hoping you can top what 2013 had to offer.
Good luck with that.
New Orleans area high school football fans