After defeating the Holy Cross Tigers to close out district play, the Archbishop Shaw Eagles now face a tough, but familiar, challenge: the 8-2 Brother Martin Crusaders.
Situations are very different across the Mississippi for both teams. After starting the season 8-0, the Crusaders have lost two straight to Rummel and Jesuit.
Shaw, meanwhile, started out the district season rough. They, too, lost badly to Rummel and Jesuit but quickly turned it around. Following the two brutal beat downs, they went on to lose two more games to the Crusaders and St. Aug. Unlike the Rummel and Jesuit games, those two losses were reason for optimism for the Eagles. In both they were leading for a majority of the game but lost in the final seconds. It was obvious that they were getting it together and that belief was solidified in their week ten victory over Holy Cross.
In week seven of the season, the Eagles traveled to Tad Gormley Stadium to take on the undefeated Crusaders and its two-headed monster of Jared West and Bruce Jordan-Swilling. What at first ensued was an incredible underdog performance by the Eagles, turned out to spiral downward for them, but upward for the Crusaders. Shaw running back Trey Ragas, who was coming off unusual less than stellar performances, turned in an outstanding 200 yard effort. But ultimately, Brother Martin came back from a big deficit thanks in large part to an excellent showing from senior wideout and kick returner Kyler Johnston. The Crusaders would storm back and win with a last minute TD.
For the Eagles, that game was a heartbreaker. Just when it seemed they had turned a corner in district play, the Crusaders smashed their hopes.
But what was a great regular-season game is sure to be an even better playoff rematch. With Ragas—230 yards against Holy Cross—and the Eagles having a head full of steam, they should be very confident and eager to take back a win that was taken from them tonight at Joe Yenni Stadium.