Growing Up In The Hub City: Legends of the Fall
Sep 14, 2017 08:32AM ● Published by Elizabeth Hesterly
High School Football... Just the thought of it takes me back to Friday nights, to carpools of students driving to local stadiums. Just the thought of it takes me back to inter-city rivalries, to memories of nimble athletes. Just the thought of it takes me back to pom poms, to letter jackets, to victory dances regardless of the score. Just the thought of it takes me back to loads of athletes on school buses, to gravel parking lots, to local announcers calling games from concrete press boxes.
My father was a high school football official and later the assignment secretary for all officials, but even if he hadn’t chosen this as a hobby, my family would have been plugged into the football scene. Dad taught us all about the game, and we were hooked.With the late summer humidity still hanging in the air, school began, and football season was not far behind. I grew up in a household where football season figured prominently. My family loved football. We still do. I still read the sports page and I follow local athletes.
Lafayette has boasted many a talented football family: the Cavaliers at Acadiana, the Cortez and Figaro families at Lafayette High, the Mahtooks at Cathedral, the Brupbachers at Lafayette High. Ross Brupbacher, one of many players who left Lafayette onto greater glory, started for the Chicago Bears. His younger brother Scott had a promising career until a major knee injury compromised his senior year.
Though Ross played before I was in high school, his name was always mentioned as one of Lafayette’s greatest, along with Maurice LeBlanc (Kansas City Chiefs), and Coach Rayford LeBlanc. Johnny Hector, a star from NISH during my high school years, held the same legendary status, as did Dwight Prudhomme, Billy Ryckman, Jerry Fontenot, and Mac Barousse.
I recently read an article declaring high school football an important factor in bringing communities together. My high school experience validates that argument. Every Monday as part of the morning announcements, I can hear in my memory Mr. Amos Trahan, our principal, lauding the efforts of “our football boys.” Later Mr. Cavalier announced our team’s success, ironically, often earned at the hands of his sons. For me, the premise of that article is true --- when I was in high school, football made us breathe as one. Football gave us a shared goal, a single purpose. Football pulled us in.
Our coach, Bill Dotson, was also an esteemed figure. I was pleased to see that years later Acadiana named their stadium after him. I remember the reverence my football player friends exhibited around Coach Dotson, and years later, as an adult, I approached him at a local gathering. He was thrilled to hear me speak knowledgeably of our run to the state semifinals my junior year. That magical season was the fall of 1977, but he told me then it set the standard for later teams.
After my years at Acadiana, I remember local excitement regarding Kevin Faulk of Carencro, Keiland Williams of Northside, Jake Delhomme of Teurlings, and Brandon Stokley of Comeaux. They made headlines in high school, only the first of many years their names would be in print.
I need to mention Binx Miciotto, Adam Bob, Jamie Howard, and Drew Alleman, all who had college careers but shaped their talents right here. When they played in our city, these names dominated the high school football conversation.
Forgive me if I haven’t mentioned your favorite star. I’m writing about the players I remember and the ones I’ve often heard about. I welcome comments about outstanding players you recall.
So here’s the thrill: We cheer for our teams. We cherish the memories of touchdowns and interceptions and last minute field goals. High School Football. Who loves it? I do.
Elizabeth O'Roark Hesterly was born and raised in Lafayette. She is a graduate of Acadiana High School and LSU, is too serious for her own good, admires loyalty and faithfulness, and strives for both.
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