It’s battle of the first responders at second annual Guns and Hoses

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2011



LAPLACE – A handful of St. John the Baptist Parish’s finest will take a break from fighting fires and felons to battle on the football field for a couple of good causes.

The game, dubbed “Guns and Hoses Flag Football,” kicks off at 1 p.m. today at Riverside Academy in Reserve. The second annual event, which benefits the Sheriff’s Office’s Christmas toy drive as well as the St. John Ministry of Care food bank, pits the St. John Sheriff’s Office against St. John firefighters in a seven-on-seven flag football game.

St John Parish firefighter Michael Heath, who spearheaded the event last year as a way to get the community more involved holiday fundraisers, said entry fee for the game is $1, but anyone who brings a toy still in its package or a canned food item gets in free. He also said T-shirts, pins and other pink-colored items will be on sale as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout October.

“We tried to do it a little bigger this year by getting some the area schools involved,” Heath said. “We raised more than $1,000 last year, and we are hoping to surpass that this year.”

Heath said the groups are hoping that a later start time this year will also help to attract more people to the game, which was played at 9 a.m. last year.

“It was a struggle last year with it being so early,” Heath said. “Also working in our favor is the fact that there is no LSU game this weekend, so there really is no excuse to avoid coming out.”

The teams will play two 20-minute halves, and the game will be officiated by outside referees. He said the teams are playing for the community, but bragging rights are on the line.

“I can tell you the fire department practiced really hard in an effort to win the trophy this time around,” said Heath, whose team lost to the Sheriff’s Office last year. “We are coming after them this year.”

Meanwhile, representatives from the Sheriff’s Office team say they are confident they will end the game on top once again.

“They say they are going to win? It’s just not going to happen,” said deputy Keith Brooks. “There are too many Sheriff’s Office players who actually played football. We expect to have that trophy back again.”

The teams aren’t just playing for pride, Heath said, because the losers will be required to wash the winner’s vehicles.

“If the Sheriff’s Office wins, the firefighters will wash patrol cars in front of the parish’s Emergency Operations Center,” Brooks said. “If the firefighters win, we will have to wash their trucks out at one of their stations. Just one more incentive.”

The stadium is behind Riverside Academy, which is located at 332 W. Railroad Ave. in Reserve.