Residents clamor for rivalry renewal

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 10, 2002


Riverside Academy and St. Charles Catholic High School football games are remembered by several local residents as being part of an exciting St. John the Baptist Parish rivalry.

“I remember people coming out to see the game rain or shine. They just came out in droves for this one,” said Wendy Peytavin, a member of the Riverside Academy Alumni Association.

It was not only a football game, it was also a family affair. Peytavin remembers having parents send one of their kids to Riverside for high school, while the other attended St. Charles Catholic.

“I think it was tougher on grandparents because they had one grandson play football for Riverside and the other play for St. Charles. All they could do was root for the individual player and not the team,” said Peytavin.

It was a natural rivalry in the sense both schools were and still are the only two private schools in the parish with football teams. Peytavin said most Rebels fans and Comets fans attend Mass together on Sundays.

“We have even had graduates from Riverside marry graduates from St. Charles Catholic,” she said with a laugh.

Although some residents said the games caused chaos at times, another Riverside supporter disagreed.

“I remember it just being clean fun,” Donna Theriot said. “I remember there were parades going around the neighborhood before the game.”

According to Peytavin, some games would attract in excess of 3,000 fans.

“The fans filled the track that goes around the football field. It was amazing,” she said.

Theriot remembers buying a ticket before the game and getting a chance to bash a car having St. Charles Catholic painted on it.

So, why don’t the two school play football against one another anymore?

“When you look at everything, especially the revenue it created, I really don’t know why it was stopped,” Peytavin said.

Several St. Charles Catholic and Riverside officials declined to comment on the matter. The two teams are not scheduled to meet next season.

Paulina resident Todd Bourgeois put it bluntly when asked about his thoughts as to why the two schools do not play each other in football.

“I think it’s stupid,” he said.

Although they may be several reasons why RA and SCC do not play, one of them is likely to because of the power-rating system. The system has to do with a team’s strength of schedule.

Specifically, their non-district schedule. Each team is awarded points for playing a non- district team above or in their district. The top 32 teams in the power-rating at the end of the season earn a birth in the playoffs.

SCC, a 3A school, for example, played St. Paul High School, a 5A school, and Grace King High School, a 5A school. On the other hand, Riverside, a 2A school, played Karr High School, a 4A school, and St. James High School, a 3A school, as part of their non-district schedule.