NAFL moves to East St. John

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 30, 2002


RESERVE – The North American Football League and the Louisiana Hurricanes are back, and although they may have begun the season with a 1-1 start on the road, they are looking to add momentum to their latest win with a larger home fan base. Hurricane members expect to take a large step forward with a greater number of fans, thanks in part to switching their home field across the river, to East St. John High School’s Joe Keller Stadium.

Coaches agreed it would be more convenient for St. John the Baptist Parish fans to attend the team’s Saturday home games after moving the location.

The Hurricanes’ upcoming home game will be Saturday, June 29 against the New Orleans Bayou Raiders.

Two weeks ago, the Hurricanes were dealt their first defeat of the season, 8-6, during the first season game on the road at the Mississippi Stingrays.

However, they balanced the record at one with a second-half aerial attack for a 40-29 win in Memphis versus the Blast.

The first half of Saturday’s matchup in Memphis finished with both teams tied at eight. When the Hurricanes returned to the field, they switched their offense and set quarterback Shannon Petty to throw from the shot gun formation. When the dust settled, Petty had completed 16 of his 32 pass attempts, for a total 215 yards, including five touchdown passes.

David Johnson retrieved two of the passes for touchdowns, while Ashley Moore, Darrin Chestnut and Anthony Garrison each caught one touchdown pass.

The Hurricanes’ Chad Cameron added another touchdown when he returned an interception 30 yards to score.

“A lot of teams can only run and gear their defense against the run. No one can stop our receivers,” said the Hurricanes’ Keith Balin.

The team will have a bye week on the first Saturday of July, before travelling to central Arkansas to take on the Rhinos July 13.

The Hurricanes will have a string of three home games beginning July 20-August 3, with games against the Panhandle Tigers, Mississippi Stingrays and the Memphis Blast. Another away-game follows on August 10 at the New Orleans Bayou Raiders, before an open week, a home game with the Rhinos, then a last away game to close the regular season at the Panhandle Tigers.

The Hurricanes’ mission, however, is not to only destroy other minor league football teams on the field, but to help develop community togetherness and awareness in low income communities through the common interests of sports.

The eye of the Hurricanes is aimed at assisting youths from a variety of backgrounds confidently make their way into industry and the working world, instead of selling themselves short and possibly turning to illegal activities.

The NAFL founders believed that through sports, mentoring and other community activities, young people could also learn about more available jobs than what they were previously exposed to, and develop goals and motivation.