Arena: Get your local football news first with us

Published 11:45 pm Friday, September 12, 2014

Nobody does football like the River Region.

I quickly learned this upon arriving at L’OBSERVATEUR in 2007. In my first season covering football here, Destrehan won a state championship, while West St. John and St. James each finished as state runner-up. In my second season here, Destrehan repeated, and Lutcher pulled off its own state crown. And of a possible 56 playoff seasons since I’ve been here, our teams have qualified for the postseason 51 times.

You could say we know — and love — good football out here.

With that in mind, every Saturday morning — or late Friday night, if you’re an insomniac like I am — will be chock full of Friday night recaps, all under our weekly Friday Night Fever section.

In Week One, there was much to read about. Von Julien’s electrifying 85-yard kickoff return jump started an improbable Riverside comeback at Evangel, as the Rebels picked up the signature victory over the Eagles that slipped away from them a year earlier.

There was the Destrehan Wildcats, who laid rest to any thoughts of a regression in 2014 with a decisive victory over West Jefferson, with Will Matthews putting his stamp on things with his three-touchdown day. Just across town, Nick Saltaformaggio made an ultra successful debut as coach of the Hahnville Tigers.

Of course, few would forget Thursday’s action either, even with a packed Friday night. West St. John and St. James faced off in a true classic, the Wildcats showing heart in coming back from a 29-0 deficit, only for the Rams to show their mettle in reclaiming the lead in an eventual 39-30 victory.

Stars like West St. John’s Morell Bartholomew and St. James’ Lowell Narcisse shined bright.

When Friday night is through, we strive to provide the very best in River Region football coverage and to get the quick reactions of those involved.

We know you want to know who scored — and how it happened — and learn who the breakout stars of every game and each season are.

Here, you don’t have to wade through football from other regions — it’s all us.

And we’ve seen some amazing people pass under our Friday night lights. NFL Hall of Famers like Lionel Washington and Terry Robiskie. Future Hall players like Ed Reed.

Just recently, we’ve seen players like Lutcher’s Jarvis Landry excel at LSU and get drafted into the NFL. Auburn’s D’haquille Williams — formerly of East St. John — will likely be next. Tyson Jackson and Quinn Johnson — West St. John’s dynamic duo — each have collegiate championships and a bevy of professional wins under their belts.

And coaches like SCC’s Frank Monica and Lutcher’s Tim Detillier are building on Hall of Fame resumes. Destrehan’s Stephen Robicheaux has a nearly untouchable winning percentage. And Hahnville’s Nick Saltaformaggio only has recognition as the reigning National Coach of the Year award on his mantle.

The best of the best are here. You see them first at

And you can read all about them, week in, week out, every Saturday morning on

Ryan Arena is sports editor for L’OBSERVATEUR. He can be reached at 985-652-9545 or