CCHS looking for first win of season against Hanson
By GEOFF STOUTE
Central Catholic head football coach David Fuhrer was entering his first year as an assistant coach at Hanson in 1992.
Hanson head football coach Brett Blakely was 9 years old and in elementary school at the time.
The year, while probably most remembered around these parts for Hurricane Andrew, also has significance in the Central Catholic-Hanson rivalry: it’s the last time Hanson defeated Central Catholic in the regular season.
Since that 26-12 victory on Oct. 16 of that year, Central Catholic has won 19 straight in the series, often in dominating fashion.
However, Friday night when the two schools meet at Franklin, Central Catholic will not just be looking to continue that streak but get its first win of the season as it enters the contest 0-5.
Hanson, on the other hand, will be looking to continue a successful start to its season in which it has raced out to a 4-1 start and is receiving votes in the latest Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 1A poll.
While Blakely, in his first year at Hanson, admits that odds are he wasn’t worried about this rivalry in 1992, he said he knows all about it now, having married a Hanson graduate.
He also said that Central Catholic isn’t a bad football team either.
“Their record doesn’t indicate how good they are,” Blakely said.
Fuhrer said he has confidence in his team.
“I still think we’re a good football team,” he said. “Again, it’s hard to say that when you’re 0-5 … The kids know we have the capability of being good. We just need to find a way to win a game.”
But as for the streak, neither coach knew about it until The Daily Review informed them of how long it has lasted.
Blakely said the squad talked about it Monday but haven’t mentioned it since.
“We talked about it, because especially with kids when they’re involved in the community, there’s going to be talk,” he said.
While the streak is no doubt in their minds, Blakely said overcoming “adversity” that will be presented to them from Central Catholic Friday is more important.
“But these kids do want that pressure of being the team that does end the streak, so we can give this community something else to celebrate about,” Blakely said.
Fuhrer said he doesn’t think the Eagles have “ever put a whole lot of stock” into the streak.
“Obviously we do talk about it a little bit, but the thing is I told them what we need to focus on is winning a football game,” Fuhrer said. “Yes, we are playing Hanson. It is a big rivalry. It is a different week at school. It’s different from all the other games … But we have to focus on finding a way to win a game and playing (to) the best of our abilities, so we can’t focus on external things and I think to me that’s an external thing.”
This year’s Hanson squad features a mixture of seniors and underclassmen, with the sophomores now playing having seen extensive playing time a year ago, Blakely said.
“It’s been a real enjoyment watching these kids play Friday night because of what they give during the week,” he said.
Hanson has been led this season by Jeff Soulis, who is one of the better running back in the state in rushing yardage. He has rushed 93 times for 676 yards, averaging 7.27 yards a carry. He also has scored six touchdowns in the Tigers’ spread offense.
Teammate Beau LeBlanc has rushed 14 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
Through the air, quarterback Bo Barrilleaux has completed 63 of 111 passes for 849 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
While his main receiving threat has been Royce Norton, who leads Hanson with 24 catches for 349 yards and four touchdowns, Hanson has four other receivers who have more than 100 yards receiving this season. Jacob Stewart has 16 receptions for 153 yards and four touchdowns, while LeBlanc has hauled in 12 catches for 138 yards and two scores. Josh Sanchez has five receptions for 105 yards and Tate Granger, four passes for 102 yards.
“They’re not a bad football team,” Fuhrer said. “They play hard. We’re going to have to be at the top of our game. We can’t have a letdown. Obviously we’re not in position to have a letdown because our backs are against the wall (at) 0-5 and we just got to go over there and play our game and improve on the things that we did well last week … and improve on the things we didn’t do well last week and try to win a game.”
Central Catholic has been led offensively this year by Stefano Guarisco, Nick Case and Tyler Hoffpauir.
Guarisco has rushed 72 times for 394 yards and six scores and has caught 28 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns.
Case has completed 79 of 141 pass attempts for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He has tossed just two interceptions, both a week ago in then No. 3 Vermilion Catholic’s come-from-behind 44-31 victory.
Hoffpauir has 37 receptions for 410 yards and three scores.
Blakely said the Eagles have done a good job of putting Hoffpauir and Guarisco in opportunities to make plays.