The day was October 10, 2013; the Archbishop Shaw Eagles and the Archbishop Rummel Raiders were facing off for the first time in two years after being derailed by hurricanes. The prized rivalry Megaphone was on the line. The Raiders had no issues claiming the prize in a 38-0 shutout of coach Scott Bairnsfather’s Eagles.
Fast forward almost exactly a year later, and the two teams met up Saturday with a lot on the line. The winner would take home not only the Megaphone and bragging rights for the next year, but also a crucial 1-0 record in the Catholic League. Which junior running back/quarterback tandem—Shaw’s Trey Ragas and Matt Keller or Rummel’s Maurice Bailey and Chase Fourcade—would lead their team to victory?
The answer was, emphatically, Bailey and Fourcade. Fourcade threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more, and the Raiders (6-0, 1-0) left Joe Yenni Stadium with the Megaphone after routing Shaw (4-2, 0-1) 56-14.
The Eagles received the opening kickoff, but on the first play from scrimmage, Keller threw an interception to Rummel’s Andre Danove. After a rushing touchdown by Fourcade to open the scoring, Danove left his mark again on Shaw’s ensuing possession with another interception. Soon after, Fourcade ran the ball in on an eerily similar play to double the Raiders’ lead.
Danove gave Keller trouble the entire game. The sophomore lines up all over the field, confusing opposing quarterbacks. Sometimes he’s in the box with the linebackers, sometimes he’s covering the slot, sometimes he’s lined up as a safety, and sometimes he covers opposing teams’ top wideouts. On Shaw’s third possession, Danove dropped what would have been his third interception on consecutive drives.
Bairnsfather lamented the impact the turnovers had on his team.
“Those early turnovers set us back and got us in a hole and you simply can’t do that against good teams like Rummel,” Bairnsfather said after the game.
After Fourcade’s third straight rushing touchdown in three straight drives, Keller got Shaw on the board with a 42-yard touchdown strike to Bryson Simmons—one of the few highlights for the Eagles, who were missing several players on defense through injury.
Mindset is an important factor, especially in homecoming games, which the Eagles are encountering next week against Jesuit. It’s very easy to get excited and hyped and let that distract from the task at hand, but the best teams can keep focused no matter what. After all, Saturday was Rummel’s homecoming.
Bairnsfather refused to dwell on the injuries or the loss, instead stressing the importance of getting the focus and mindset right for the Blue Jays.
“Next week we’ve got to get healthy, have six great days of practice, and get our mind right for the game,” Bairnsfather said.