Steaks were sizzling, fans were revved up, and SMHS Tigers delivered early in scrimmage

The 47th Annual St. Mary’s Catholic School Steak Supper football scrimmage Friday evening was well on its way to success before the first play.

As is traditional, the steaks were juicy and the trimmings were just right.

Tigers supporters, and the visiting fans from Opelousas’ Westminster Academy, enjoyed the new grandstand.

“It was filled and people were up and down the sidelines. I couldn’t ask for a better crowd,” said St. Mary’s coach Aaron York. “Our folks came out, they (Westminster) traveled well, and we had a student section. The atmosphere was really electric, especially for a scrimmage.”

Nothing happened to disappoint after the teams set down the ball and knocked heads, either.

“We were just trying to stay healthy, and get a look at our guys going against an outside opponent,” said York. “It was good for us. We got to see live speed, we got to see physicality. The bunch we played, they were pretty physical, and we don’t get to see that in practice because of our (low) numbers.”

The Tigers couldn’t have started better, on both sides of the ball.

“On our first drive, we went 12 plays down the field to score,” said York. “You can’t start better than that.

“Then our defense goes out and on their first 12 plays, we don’t give up a first down.”

The Tigers and Crusaders moved on to a 10-minute quarter format for the next phase. St. Mary’s subbed in some backups on defense, and the visitors were able to convert a screen pass into a touchdown play.

The final phase was a two-minute offense competition. Nobody got into the end zone, but York liked how the Tigers competed.

“We had a chance to score, but didn’t get it in. We didn’t give up a score,” he said. “It was good for us to see the live reps against someone else.”

York pointed out a few standouts for St. Mary’s.

“Payne Williams had a very good night. On our first series, he had a big catch of about 30 yards or more, and defensively, Payne played about as well at a corner position as anyone could have.

“Drake Griffin played well at defensive end. Running the ball, Jaydyn Jackson had a good night, and he really jumped out in that opening 12-play drive,” said the Tigers’ coach.

The great food, good vibes and solid football sent all the St. Mary’s faithful home happy. The first use of the new grandstand marked another step on the path to realizing a dream for SMHS football, said York.

“We don’t play on campus often, but I’ll say it, that’s something we’re trying to shoot for in the future, to play every game here. I talked to some of our juniors and seniors, and they loved it, and said they’d like to play here a little bit more.”

That’s down the road a way. For now, York and his squad will benefit from watching the tape, and prepare for their big parish matchup at NSU’s Turpin Stadium next Friday night in jamboree action against Lakeview’s Gators.

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