Summary of the 1970's:
Purple Knights Won Three Titles
Reprinted from the Clarion Herald, January 8, 1998
Copyright © 1998, The Clarion Herald
By RON BROCATO
During the latter part of the 1970's, St. Augustine's football team was king of the hill.
The Purple Knights had four key things going for them: outstanding talent, a coach who knew how to get the best form each individual, one of the top high school concert and marching bands in the U. S., and a following of faithful that would have easily infiltrated the opponents' section at Gormley Stadium had it not been for a 120-foot-high screened barrier.
Under the orchestration of coach Otis Washington, the Knights won state championships in 1975, 1978 and 1979, marking the first time since the 1940s a major New Orleans school had won multiple titles.
The 1978 game against Jesuit, a 13-7 victory in the Superdome, before 42,000 fans, planted the seed for a Superdome Classic in the mind of Louisiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Tommy Henry.
Two years later, East St. John and Barbe played the last state championship at a high school stadium. the Louisiana Superdome then became home of state championship games.
St. Augustine's 1975 squad was its finest ever. It won all 15 games, including a 34-13 walkover against Covington.
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LED BY running back Burnell Quinn's 827 yards and 18 touchdowns (behind the blocking of 6-5, 230 pound Louis Oubre and 5-11, 230-pound Byron Honore) and the passing of quarterbacks Louis Holmes and Raymond Gray, the Knights' offense averaged four touchdowns per game.
The defense was anchored by the greatest defensive lineman in school history to date, Percy Gibson. Gibson, along with linemen Thaddeus Lee and Marty Griffin and safeties Alvin Reed and Joe Evans were mostly responsible for the seven shutout victories. The Knights allowed only 77 points, less than one touchdown per game.
Only once did St. Aug's streak appear to be in jeopardy. That came in the semifinal round game when Sulphur took a 10-0 lead into the final period. But the Knights scored twice in the final 12 minutes, converting a two-point play and kicking a field goal to edge the Tornadoes. 11-10.
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RAIDER PRIDE: The St. Augustine team of 1978 had a 14-1 record and the '79 team was 13-1. And the man and team most responsible for the Knights' lone blemish each year were Jay Roth and the Rummel Raiders.
In 1978 Roth led a drive in the final three minutes of a game at Tulane Stadium that netted the Raiders a 21-18 victory. Uncharacteristically for that Don Perret-coached Rummel team, the Raiders passed for two touchdowns. Roth completed two passes, picked up a pass interference call and gained another first down on an option run before throwing the winning pass to Charlie Muller with one minute left.
In 1979 Roth used tailback Milton Steeping as the workhorse to tip the Knights 14-7. And no team scored more than 14 points against the Knights, who defeated New Iberia for the title, 16-7. That would be Washington's final game as head coach of the Purple Knights.
Rummel's vaunted "Super Ants" enjoyed their finest decade under Perret. In 1974 the Raiders had an 11-2 record behind the play of quarterback Joe Buckle and tailback Greg Chaff. The Raiders won the district title by a half game over Brother Martin, then defeated Bonnabel, 27-14, and Hahnville, 7-6, before being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Fair Park, 7-0.
In 1975 the Raiders endured a heartbreaking end to a season of promise when they lost on first downs to Covington after the game ended in a 14-14 tie. The Lions had 14 first downs to Rummel's 6, but the Raiders fate was sealed on a dropped pass in the end zone.
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BATTLE OF THE QB'S: Throughout the 1977 season, the topic of conversation was who was the better quarterback - Shaw's John Fourcade or Bonnabel's Tommy Wilcox? The only way it could be determined was if the two would meet in the playoffs.
Fourcade, an Ole Miss signee, accounted for 702 yards passing and 696 rushing, while Wilcox, claimed by Alabama as a defensive back, passed for 92 yards and rushed for 575 more. Both teams had 802 records entering the playoffs.
No one wanted to separate the two, so they were named co-Most Valuable Players on the All-City and All-State tams. It wasn't until the final two weeks of the playoffs that the best quarterback surfaced...Bobby Hebert of South Lafourche.
The Tarpons eliminated Shaw in the semis despite Fourcade's 171 yards rushing and two touchdowns, then Hebert ran and passed South Lafourche to the state title by edging Bonnabel, 21-20, in Galliano. In that game, Wilcox rushed for 169 yards and scored three times.
Hebert and Fourcade had stints as quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. Wilcox's career came to an end in his senior season at Alabama when he suffered a severe knee injury that brought a close to a promising career (opportunity) as an NFL safety.
The 18-year career of Holy Cross coach John Kalbacher ended with his retirement in 1975.
John Martyn, a former LIALO trade school in Metairie, dropped out of athletics in 1977.
St. Augustine honors '75 state champions
Reprinted from the Clarion Herald, October 12, 2000
Copyright © 2000, The Clarion Herald
By RON BROCATO
Otis Washington got a well-deserved ride off the Tad Gormley football field Sept. 29 when members of the St. Augustine High School team he coached to the 1975 Class 4A state championship proudly displayed him go about 4,000 appreciative fans on the Purple Knights' side of the stadium.
The '75 team, which won all 15 games and allowed only 64 points to the opposition, was reunited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that magnificent feat. The championship was the first of three St. Augustine would win in the 1970's.
Among the standouts were running back Burnell Quinn, who rushed for 827 yards and led the city in touchdowns (18) and points scored (110); quarterback Louis Holmes (39 of 86 passing for 736 yards); wide receiver Ben Hunter; and All Prep selectee Byron Honore, offensive guard; Louis Oubre, offensive tackle; Thaddeus Lee, offensive end' Percy Gibson, defensive tackle; and defensive back Alvin Reed.
JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL ALL DECADE TEAM OF THE 1970'S
|Reprinted from the
Times-Picayune August 25, 1982
Copyright © 1982 the Times-Picayune
|Nose Guard||Mark Oliveri*||1971|
|Player of the Decade||Tim Parenton|
|* All-State Selection|