Last year’s Division I state semifinal bout between Rummel and Jesuit seems like a distant memory, though neither team has forgotten what that fateful night at Tad Gormley Stadium last November meant.
It was a crossroads of sorts. For Jesuit, it was a steppingstone to an eventual state championship — the school’s first in more than five decades.
For Rummel, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs which had an 11-0 record at the time, it marked the end a promising campaign.
“There were tears. Lots of tears,” Rummel senior quarterback Chase Fourcade remembers. “It hurt ’cause it should’ve been us. We didn’t execute that night, and they were better. They deserved that win and the state championship last year.”
Fourcade is among the many Raiders who have held onto that disappointment for 11 months, through workouts, spring practices and the first half of the season.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Rummel (5-1, 2-0) and Jesuit (2-4, 0-3) return to Gormley for the rematch.
Last year’s semifinal game marked the 51st meeting between the Catholic League rivals. Jesuit outgained Rummel 383-234, held the Raiders’ rushing attack in check and had to punt only once en route to a 28-14 win.
Rummel’s Jay Roth hasn’t forgotten either, though the coach understands this week’s game should be more about the present than it is the past.
“I was disappointed, but that was last year,” said Roth, in his 21st season at his alma mater. “It’s not revenge because Jesuit beat us soundly last year. They were the best team, and they proved it by winning state. We’re trying to be 3-0 in district and don’t want Jesuit to get its first district win at our expense. We’re trying to stay on top of district.”
Jesuit is attempting to snap a three-game skid and earn its first regular-season win against Rummel since 2011.
As the Jays look to notch their first Catholic League victory of the season, they don’t have to look much further than their last playoff triumph over Rummel for the blueprint.
“We always think we’re capable of being the best we can be,” Jesuit senior receiver Kalijah Lipscomb said. “I don’t know if we’re necessarily better than them, but we’re getting better each week. When they beat us (in the regular season) last year, it made us hungry and helped us have a good game in the playoffs.”
Jesuit’s 0-3 start in district play hasn’t hurt the team’s confidence. It’s a resilient bunch, coach Mark Songy said.
For good reason.
Jesuit fought tough in each of its past three games. The Jays fell victim to a hungry St. Aug team, then lost in double overtime against Holy Cross. Last week, they held a halftime lead against John Curtis but letting it slip away 24-16.
The goal Saturday is to put together two good halves of football and eliminate the costly mistakes, players said.
“The next win can change our season,” Songy stated. “I see us getting better each week. Last week could’ve been our signature game. So could the week before, and it’s frustrating. This is a game of confidence, and our kids bounce back real well.”