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Hargis has a day to remember

Holy Cross Star starts at RB, leads Tigers past Jays


Saturday, October 22, 2005
By Billy Turner
Staff writer

Some days are remarkably better than others.

Saturday afternoon was one of those days for new Holy Cross running back Cass Hargis.

It was a cloudless afternoon at Joe Yenni Stadium, with the humidity gone like air from a burst balloon since a day earlier.

And Hargis? Well, he was as special as the day.  "I played the best game of my life in the biggest game of the year," a sweaty, drained Hargis said as the Holy Cross alma mater was played.  "How good is that?"

Hargis found out he would start at running back Saturday afternoon before his Tigers played Jesuit.  Hargis, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior who normally plays wide receiver, replaced Logan Ryckaert, who was suspended earlier this week.

In his first start at running back, participating in the renewal of the longest-played rivalry in the state (85 games) Hargis ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns as Holy Cross beat Jesuit 20-10 in a District 8-5A opener for both teams.

"He was phenomenal," holy Cross coach Barry Wilson said of Hargis. "We lost the one running back we had for disciplinary reasons, and he (Hargis) came in a did a fantastic job.  He's a fantastic football player."

Two of those touchdowns came in the game's final five minutes after the Blue Jays had taken a 10-7 lead.  Hargis carried 16 times for 83 yards in the second half. He is the only skill position player who would have started for the Tigers pre-Katrina, albeit at wide receiver.

Jesuit was playing its season opener after regrouping and playing after one week of practice. But no one used this as an excuse.

"We played a good 40-minute game." Jesuit coach Vic Eumont said. His team didn't trail until 5:25 remained. "But the final eight minutes killed us. But the kids played hard and that's important."

The Blue Jays got the early lead when Stott Cronin picked up a fumble and raced 69 yards. Philip Moseley's kick made it 7-0 with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

It stayed that way most of the second quarter until Holy Cross quarterback Chris Brady, a sophomore, hit Chris Collins on a cross pattern that went 74 yards before Collins was caught from behind.

Hargis scored from four yards out and Danny Hrapmann's extra point tied it at 7.

The teams struggled with missed opportunities in the third quarter. Holy Cross drove to the Jesuit 33 on its first second half possession before throwing an interception.

"We played sloppy," Wilson said, "But that's to be expected. We're playing a lot of young players."

Jesuit came back to drive from its 35 to the Holy Cross 16 before stalling. Mosely's 33 yard field goad with 3:16 left in the third quarter made it 10-7.

Jesuit, with 25 freshmen and sophomores, held of two Holy Cross drives late in the third quarter and early in the fourth before the turning point came.

Antoine Duplessis, a standout basketball player, got a hand on a Jesuit punt and the
Tigers took over at the Jesuit 25 with 7:23 left.  Five plays later, all runs by Hargis, they took the lead for good at 13-10 after a blocked extra-point attempt with 5:25 remaining.

"We just made too many mistakes," Jesuit quarter Danny Zimmerman said. "But we'll get better with time when our linemen come together and we get more practices in."

Two plays later, Jesuit fumbled, and Reid Pinac recovered for Holy Cross at the Jesuit 22.

Hargis scored again for the Tigers with 1:47 remaining for the final points Jay Morgani intercepted Zimmerman on the next drive to finish the Blue Jays.

But not to be lost was the fact that they played at all. Two weeks earlier, there was no Jesuit football team, Zimmerman was the starting quarterback for Salmen and Eumont was in California coaching ninth-graders for free.

"It was very important for our student body to play this game. Certainly it was important for our players," Jesuit president Anthony McGinn said. "It was important for our faculty, students and fans to be here and continue the rivalry, to keep this streak unbroken."

Jesuit plays Rummell (3-1, 1-0) at Joe Yenni on Saturday next week, while Holy Cross faces Salmen at Strawberry Stadium on Saturday.

Copyright 2005 The Times-Picayune

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This was the Katrina game, of course.  Jim Moore and I attended this game and it was the most memorable one we have ever been to and this goes back to the year 1949.  These kids on both teams were excited to be there.  These elevens were both patched together at the last minute.  There were many young players shuttling in and out of the lineups.  It was exciting for everyone present.  The better team prevailed, but the wonderful spirit was shared by everyone present.  For those of you that were unable to attend, you missed a great event.

We congratulate both schools for making the effort to put on this unforgettable day.

The Times-Picayune did not publish the game summary and statistics. 

by Ron Gravois