Walker: Expect another Newman-Riverside classic _lowres

Advocate Photo by KYLE ENCAR -- A pair of Newman defenders team up to tackle Riverdale wide receiver, Darius Bovie.

Here’s a little advice.

Get to Lupin Field early Friday.

And if the past two years are any indication, plan to stay until the very last play.

The much-anticipated Showdown in Uptown is set for Friday night when small school powerhouses Riverside Academy and Newman clash at 7 p.m.

“This is that game everybody had circled on their calendar,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. “We felt like if both teams could get past St. James, we both had a good shot to be 6-0.”

The identical 6-0 records aren’t all the Rebels and Greenies have in common.

Both are ranked.

Riverside is No. 3 in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 2A poll and this newspaper’s Small School Super 10. Newman is sixth in 2A and No. 2 in the Super 10.

But the similarities don’t end there.

Both teams feature high-powered offenses that could put up enough points to give the scoreboard operator carpal tunnel syndrome Friday night.

Riverside is averaging 48.8 points per game, including 68 and 64 point outings the past two weeks. That’s just a tad bit more than what Riverside’s dynamic wide receiver tandem of Herb McGee and Von Julien averaged in basketball on their way to being named first-team All-State picks on the hardwood.

Newman, meanwhile, is averaging just a little less at 46.8 points.

The Greenies are sparked by running back Kendall Bussey, a Nebraska commitment, and receiver Jay Tyler. Bussey’s 21 touchdowns this season are second in all of Louisiana.

“They have some really special players on offense,” said Riverside coach Bill Stubbs. “We know them. They know us.”

But who the folks in the crowd of 1,700 or so may not know are the two quarterbacks.

Both teams are led by young, but oh-so-promising guys who were thrust into the spotlight this season.

Riverside freshman Jordan Loving, who is only 14, had to take over when Deuce Wallace moved to Tennessee.

Newman’s Miles Lapeyre, 15, took over when Tyler suffered a hand injury that moved him to receiver.

Neither team has missed a beat.

Loving has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Lapeyre has thrown for 926 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Lapeyre, a sophomore, is The New Orleans Advocate Player of the Week after throwing for 446 yards and the game-winning touchdowns in the final seconds last week. His 446 yards is second most in school history, more than guys named Peyton and Eli had suited up for the Greenies before he was even born.

“He has just gotten better every week,” Stewart said. “When he went to St. James and won it on the last play, it showed his toughness.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Loving has been even more impressive. His 18 touchdown tosses trails, only Warren Easton’s Deshawn Capers-Smith’s 24.

“He is one of those real special ones,” Stubbs said. “He is smart and the sky is the limit for him. His numbers speak for themselves. The kids have accepted him as their quarterback, and they have rallied around him.”

And while the offenses have gotten most of the ink for both teams, the defenses have something in common as well.

They both get overshadowed by the offenses.

Newman is allowing just over 18 points a game, while Riverside is yielding an even stingier 12.6 points.

Riverside has kept two teams out of the end zone and the only team to score more than two touchdowns against the Rebels was perennial power Evangel Christian in the season opener.

“The thing that has impressed me the most about (Riverside) is their defensive front,” Stewart said. “It’s rare in 2A to see that kind of size up front. Their defensive line play is great, and they rally to the football. That’s what sets them apart from other teams.”

Defensive lineman Joe Anderson and Richie George, along with linebackers Evan Veron and Brandon Hymel lead the Rebels defense.

“If you are going to win, you are going to win with defense,” said Stubbs, in his third season at Riverside. “That’s been the staple of our philosophy here.”

Defense won it for the Rebels last year when they intercepted a pass on the final play after Newman had the ball on the Rebels’ 3-yard line.

The year before that, it was the Riverside offense that won the game in the final seconds.

This year could be the same, so stick around if you are in the crowd that Stewart expects to be “one of the largest crowds we have had here.”

“The two programs respect each other and there are a lot of emotions involved,” Stewart said.

“This isn’t just coach speak, but I think it’s going to be a great football game. Hopefully it can live up to the billing.”

Something tells me it will.