CONTACT SPORTS: Looking back, ahead

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 6, 2003


Happy New Year.

What a year it has been for me both personally and professionally. I started out the year working as a news photographer in Grand Junction, Col., and ended the year as a sports writer in LaPlace.

I got off on the wrong foot when my job here in the River Parishes began. I called Reserve Christian School and asked to speak to the head football coach. There was only one problem – RCS does not have a football team.

With football season just beginning, you might say I was thrown into the fire right off the bat. A long season made for interesting conversations with area football coaches. I remember Hahnville head coach Lou Valdin telling me the Tigers’ game with H.L Bourgeois was changed four times in two days due to the uncertainty of Hurricane Lilli. Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said of the weather-related chaos, “I may jump off a bridge or something if we have a third straight storm come this way.”

On top of that, another bizarre moment occurred when Lawless High School had to cancel its game with St. Charles Catholic due to a fire in the LHS fieldhouse the day before the game. Had the game been played, it could have played a factor in playoff seeding in the end.

I remember once again learning the basics of volleyball during my time here in 2002.

The stories, players, coaches and parents have made it enjoyable for me so far. Now that 2002 has come and gone, I would like to look ahead to 2003 and make some “bold” predictions for the River Parishes.

As far as recruiting goes, Kirston Pittman will commit to Florida State University in February, while fellow East St. John teammate Vegas Franklin will choose to attend LSU.

St. James defensive back Desi Steib will also decide to attend LSU and Hahnville’s Laron Landry will follow in the footsteps of former Destrehan standout Ed Reed and commit to the University of Miami (Fla.).

As far as athletics go, ESJ and DHS will meet in the girls basketball playoffs this season. On the boys side, Reserve Christian will win the Class B state championship, again. The baseball diamond will see Riverside Academy winning the 9-2A district title.

Finally, during the 2003 football season, quarterbacks Ryan Perrilloux and Demarko Hutchinson will engage in a 54-48 shootout when East St. John plays Destrehan. Hopefully, this time fans will not need a canoe to get home.

GEORGE MAHL is a sportwriter for L’Observateur.