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They’re best friends off the field, opponents on it

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 4, 1998

Every season, there are games people talk about long after the final gun.

The St. Charles Catholic-Riverside game is usually one such game everyyear.

It’s a rivalry that began before the teams ever met on the playing field.

When St. Charles Catholic opened in 1978, it was put in the same districtwith teams like John Curtis, Belle Chasse and Newman. At the same timeRiverside was dominating the Louisiana Independent Schools Association.

Bad blood developed between the schools, with fans at St. Charles Catholicaccusing Riverside of not playing anybody and fans at Riverside teasing St.

Charles Catholic about its record.

The teams finally met on the football field in 1987 and 1988, with the teams splitting the contests. But the tension between the teams was suchthat the series was discontinued and not renewed until both teams were placed in the same district in 1993.

Like many rivalries, however, it is more between the fans than the players. Sure, the players want to win the game and probably find a littleextra in themselves playing their rival, but many are also friends and neighbors. An example of that is St. Charles Catholic’s Wayne Stein andRiverside’s Casey and Blake Duhe.

Stein and the Duhes have been neighbors for the past eight years and have known each other since long before that. Stein said the three are bestfriends and are always going over to each other’s houses to eat. Andironically, food added a special side item to this year’s game between the two teams.

During the season, the Riverside seniors take turns holding cookouts for each other every Thursday night. Casey Duhe, a senior, said the cookoutsinclude everything from steaks to lasagna and allow the players a chance to get closer together. Coincidentally, Duhe’s turn came up during theweek of the St. Charles Catholic-Riverside game this year at the sametime the Steins were cooking for the juniors and seniors on the Comets squad.

“It’s funny how things work out,” Stein said. “But we were not worriedabout anything happening. It is not a rivalry between the players.”Watching each other on film, Stein said the players will never disclose information to each other but may kid each other about a play they made.

Casey Duhe said playing a team like the Comets is different because he knows so many of the opposing players.

“It is good to have a rivalry like that,” Casey Duhe said. “It helps us getready for the playoffs. It is more emotional playing against a friend,people who I am going to be around for the rest of my life.”Riverside defeated the Comets, 21-16, this season, making it seven straight wins for the Rebels in the series. But Stein said the Duhes nevertease him about it.

“They have never tried to be conceited or make fun of me,” Stein said.

“They know I work just as hard Monday through Friday. They know many ofthe games could have gone either way. I am lucky to have friends at theschool that feel that way.”