St. Mary’s heads down I-49 for the ‘Bishop Bowl” against Menard

The St. Mary’s-Holy Savoir Menard sports rivalry, particularly in football, is already friendly and spirited.

There are many paths crossing every time the Tigers and Eagles meet in any season, but rarely more so than in football season.

Now, there’s a little extra incentive to win the matchup of central Louisiana’s two private Catholic schools. The game tonight at 7 in Alexandria has been designated as the “Bishop Bowl” with bragging rights and a trophy on the line.

“We’ve had a close relationship with the Menard community. We have parents who went to school there, my wife graduated from there, our students have friends who go to school there,” said St. Mary’s football coach Aaron York. “Our kids know their kids. They date each other. They’re on Instagram with each other. Whatever it is, there’s a tie between the schools. It’s a game in any sport that when these schools collide, you know you’re getting their best shot and it will be talked about for a long time afterward, forever for those seniors involved.

“When I got this job, we did not have them on our schedule, and that was something I wanted to change. We are in the same diocese, we do have all of these connections, we’re competing since the boys were in CYO league. It finally has worked out.

“Having the trophy on the line really ramps it up. We’ve got T-shirts on sale at our school and I know they’ll be worn by our fans Friday night.”

Need any more hype? York’s background provides it.

“The head coach there (Justin Charles) was my college roommate and teammate (at Louisiana College).
He’s a great guy. He knows his football and will have his team ready. It’s their homecoming, and while week three is a little early for that, you know they’ll be extra fired up, and there will be a big crowd and a great atmosphere. I believe the teams are going to play extremely hard and it’s going to be a great game.”

The Tigers (1-1) blasted Class 3A Buckeye 38-6 last Friday night in Turpin Stadium after an opening 20-point loss to another 3A opponent, Abbeville.

Menard (0-2) has fallen 35-10 to always tough St. Frederick’s and 28-7 to Class 5A Pineville to kick off the season. Charles was head coach from 2017-20 at Louisiana College, then moved across the Red River and into the high school ranks.

Tigers’ center Kolton Norsworthy is a focal figure for the St. Mary’s offense tonight.

“We’ve been stressing this week that we’ve got to block their nose tackle, who disrupts everything in the middle,” said York. “Doing that will open up our offensive opportunities.

“We’ve got to win the battle up front, and if we do, we’ll be successful with the football. Defensively if we can line up correctly and not get beat deep, because they’re going to take chances, we’ll be successful.”

A Tiger win will create one minor problem, though.

“We’re going to have to ruin my wife’s 20th class reunion. Her classmates will all be upset. She’s definitely a Blue and White Tiger Friday night, though,” said York.

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