The Football Tradition for the Prep League in


There was much news to report in the 1937 football season.  Among them was the establishment of the AA division in the LHSAA for the larger schools.  This was necessitated due to many more schools joining the group.  Membership had climbed to 349 schools and adding a division was a sensible and needed improvement.  There was also controversy in the games played, wherein Fortier could not make a playoff game on a Wednesday after their Sunday season closer.  The Jesuit contest against Holy Cross was also marred by a controversial decision.  But the really big news was the erection of the gleaming new football and track stadium at City Park, a stadium that many of us readers recall with fondness and even continue to enjoy to this day.

City Park Stadium, today known as Tad Gormley Stadium, was built under a grant from the U. S government in the amount of $250,000.00.  The design had been commenced by Architect Richard Koch in 1934, following the original petition for funding in 1933, but in 1937, the dream finally became a reality.  Interested readers are encouraged to seek out the book, History of City Park in New Orleans, by Reeves and Reeves, for a complete description of the design and construction of this jewel of a ballpark, that so many thousands of fans have enjoyed for these past 65 years.  The final cost of the structure came to $563,641.

Officials of both Holy Cross and Jesuit had petitioned Mayor Maestri to allow them to dedicate the new stadium in their annual contest, but it was not to be. The mayor did not even respond to the letters and the first football game held there was between Loyola and DePaul Universities before 20,000 fans on October 20, 1937.  The first high school game to be played in the new stadium was held between Holy Cross and St. Aloysius on November 20, 1937.  Although the contest was a double homecoming, bad weather kept the crowd down to only 2,500 fans, with the ascendant Crusader rooters outnumbering their Tiger counterparts by a 2-1 margin.  The Tigers won 22-0, with Iggy Frey providing most of the on-field fireworks.  One week later the new stadium was tested as Prep powerhouse Fortier defeated Jesuit 14-6 before 30,000 fans in the 24,500-capacity stadium.  Spectators spilled over from the seats and lined the field all around five deep or more.  

Photo: Ye Olde Electric Scoreboard.  How many points were
posted there in its long career?  Note: This was not the original 
one.  This was the second one, probably dating to the late 1940's.


For a “lineman,” Iggy made one
helluva quarterback.  He was one
of the Tiger All-Time Greats

Now, for the official article on the game played on Saturday, Oct. 16, 1937
Copyright (c) The Times-Picayune Publishing Co.

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Crowd of 9000 Sits in Rain to See Game

Connie Ryan’s Kicking Bright Feature of Night Battle

By N. Charles Wicker

A crowd of 9000 excited, cheering fans sat in the rain through a thrilling football duel between Holy Cross and Jesuit high schools Saturday night at Loyola Stadium.  It was one of the keenest battles witnessed on a local prep gridiron in years and at the end the point score favored neither, the game winding up in a 6 to 6 tie, after both teams had thrown all of their resources into the fray to no avail.

However, regardless of their valiant battle, which found them coming back in the third period and fighting their way to a touchdown to even up the count with the Jays, who had tallied in the first quarter, the Tigers will have a defeat charged against their prep record.  While they held the Jesuits even in points and first downs, the Tigers were margined in penetrations beyond the 20-yard line, 4 to 1, and therein lies the tale.

The New Rule

A new rule, introduced this year, decides the games first, after points, most first downs and, if they’re even, on penetrations.  The rule, Article 3, section 3 covers this situation and reads: “Beginning with 1937, there will be no tie games in district games, the score counting first, number of first downs second and number of penetrations third.”

Each team scored five first downs in the game.

The Tigers can attribute the hollow defeat mainly to the kicking of Connie Ryan, Jesuit’s ace booter.  Connie’s accurate punts kept the oval in Tiger territory throughout the first half and a great part of the third period, when the Jays ran up their penetration margin.

It was the Tigers’ first local, as well as intraprep battle, and it was a tough one to lose.  But it was no disgrace to them losing the way they did.  They put up a grand struggle and probably gave little or no thought to the new rule.  Two weeks ago they defeated Catholic High’s mighty Golden Bears in Baton Rouge, 13 to 6.

Blocks Kick

After an exchange of punts, which found the Jays gaining plenty of yardage, especially as a result of a 65-yard punt by Connie Ryan – William Stroebel and Phillip Bruno got through and blocked Caballero’s kick, which Stroebel recovered on the Holy Cross 12-yard line, from where the Jays scored a touchdown.

With Hauth and Ryan carrying the ball, they Jays were able to advance the oval to the one-yard line.  One play at the line failed and on the next try, the Jays were penalized five yards for offsides.  A five-yard pass from Connie Ryan to Jack Webb again placed the ball on the one-yard stripe, from where Hauth went off of right tackle for the score.  Hauth’s try for the extra point from placement was wide.

Some fine kicking by Ryan kept the ball in Tigers’ territory during the rest of the first period.

Pass Ruled Complete

Taking the ball on their own 20-yard stripe three plays before the first quarter ended, the Tigers, aided by a 15-yard penalty, got the ball on their own 35-yard line.  On the first play, Vincent Crespino shot a long pass to Herbert Ayres, who got behind the Jesuit safety.  The ball fell incomplete, but Field Judge Joe Tetlow ruled interference on the Jesuit 25-yard line.  In four tries, the Tigers gained but eight yards and the ball went over to the Jays on their own 17-yard line.

Forcing the Jays to kick, the Tigers took the ball on their own 40-yard line and a nice 22-yard run by Crespino planted the ball on the Jays’ 33-yard line, where Crespino quick-kicked out of bounds on the Jays’ eight-yard line.

Ryan kicked on first down to his own 36-yard line.  On the first play, Samartino lateralled to Cardinale, who gained nine yards, but on the next play, Cardinale fumbled and the Jays recovered.

Crespino Punts Well

Unlike the first half, the second half found the Tigers getting the better of the kicking, with Vincent Crespino punting 55 yards to put the Jays deep in their own territory. 

Crespino’s punt was downed on the Jays’ 10-yard line.  One play at the line gained one yard and, on the next play Connie Ryan, back to punt, was smothered for a six-yard loss.

A poor kick by Key gave the Tigers the ball on the Jays’ 27-yard line.  From there the Tigers marched to a score when a fourth-down pass from Vincent Crespino to Samartino, a “sleeper” man, placed the ball on the Jays’ one-yard line, from where Crespino went over to tie the score.

Crespino’s try from placement was low.

The Tigers, featuring great running by Crespino, got into Jays’ territory after they tallied the tying touchdown, but couldn’t get past the Jays’ 35-yard line. 

Ryan Punts Nicely

Another beautiful kick by Ryan, which was downed on the Tigers’ 15-yard line and a holding penalty put the ball on their own one-yard line. 

Connie Ryan took a kick on the Tigers 35-yard line and advanced it to the Tigers’ 26-yard line and a first down followed but the Jays fumbled and the Tigers recovered on the Holy Cross 17-yard line to stop the threat. 

The Jays got into the Tigers territory when the fourth period was half over.  Connie Ryan kicked and when the Tigers’ safety man fumbled the ball, Harold Hooper recovered.

The Jays, aided by an offside penalty, netted five more yards to register a first down.  This means a lot, because of a new state rule that says in case of a tie, first downs rule and if first downs are tied penetrations rule next.

The Tigers were minus one of their stellar backs, Ignatius Frey, a brother of Captain Larry, who played a great game.  Crespino was the Tigers’ offensive star, while Hickey and Ayres looked good in the Holy Cross line.

Sharing the honors with Ryan for the Jays were Harold Hooper, William Stroebel, Phillip Bruno and Charley Miller.

The Lineups:
Jesuit (6)                                                                     Holy Cross (6)
Hooper                                     L.E.                              Maggiore
Delhomme                                   L.T.                             Wilkinson
Kirn                                          L.G.                             Moran
Miller                                        C                                 L. Frey
Scofield                                     R.G.                             Routher
Villars                                        R.T.                             LaCroix
Derbes                                      R.E.                             Avery
Bordes                                      Q.B.                             Caballero
Hodgins                                    R.H.                              Davis
St. J. Smith                               L.H.                              I. Frey
Grush                                       F.B                                Cardinale 

Holy Cross:
Crespino, Suberville, McKenna, Young, Puig, Hickey, Winchester, Malarcher.
Jesuit: Eberhardt, Sides, Taylor, Bruno, Gillespie, Grannen, Heidingsfelder, McCarron, Stroebel, Roth, Stumpf.

First Downs: Jesuit 5, Holy Cross 5
Penetrations: Jesuit 4, Holy Cross 1

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Cumulative record, Jesuit leads the series 12-2-2

 1936 Season Record: Jesuit:
Behrman                       12-6
Bogalusa                      0-0
St. Aloysius                  22-0
Holy Cross                 6-6
Commercial                  24-6
Baton Rouge                9-6
Bolton                          6-6
Ponchatoula                  38-0
Fortier  (L)                   6-14
Warren Easton (L)       0-7
Picayune, Miss.            8-0 (Toy Bowl)
Season Record: (6-2-3)

 Sorry we do not have the entire Holy Cross wins and losses for 1936.