Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Karr-Brother Martin provides fall preview
By Gary Laney
NEW ORLEANS -- Tad Gormley Stadium once hosted the 1992 U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials, a meet so fast the great Carl Lewis finished sixth in the 100 meters.
It was in that same venue on Thursday where Speedy Noil was, quite simply, fast, even in the context of the world class speed the venerable, 76-year-old New Orleans City Park icon has seen gallop up and down its turf and track.
Noil, the No. 8 player in the ESPN 150, scored on a pair of 60-yard touchdown runs on quarterback keepers in his New Orleans Karr spring game against cross-town rival Brother Martin. On both plays, Noil seemed to toy with the Brother Martin defense, a large Catholic school that has a solid football history and in the last two recruiting classes has produced Florida State 2013 signee Ryan Hoefeld and 2014 LSU commit William Clapp, both offensive linemen.
Speedy Noil lived up to his name in New Orleans Karr's spring game, which provided an appetizer for what should be a great season of Big Easy football.
The Crusaders aren't the Washington Generals, but for a couple of plays Thursday, Noil pulled away so quickly, he made them look like it. Brother Martin need not feel too bad; it's become a regular thing for Noil.
It's a big reason why a spring scrimmage -- the game was played in a controlled scrimmage format -- was big enough to be an event worthy of New Orleans' big prep stage. LSU coaches Frank Wilson and Adam Henry were on hand to watch, as was USC assistant Ed Orgeron and a slew of recruiters from around the country.
Also making a sideline appearance was the nation's No. 1-ranked player, New Orleans/St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, who was there as a curious onlooker.
He won't just be watching these guys for long.
With Noil headlining the defending 4A state champions against a traditional power featuring an LSU prospect in Clapp, the Karr-Brother Martin scrimmage was a sign of things to come this season in New Orleans football. There will be a lot of big games involving top prospects this fall -- many of them at Gormley.
"You're going to have to come to New Orleans every weekend," St. Augustine coach Cyril Crutchfield said. "Because we're going to have big games every weekend."
Indeed. In a year where greater New Orleans has three defending state champions -- Karr is joined 5A champion Archbishop Rummel and 2A champion River Ridge John Curtis -- and five players in the ESPN 150, there will be big games every week.
That's especially true because the best teams have not avoided each other. The teams most loaded with prospects -- Karr, St. Augustine and John Curtis -- are on the verge of playing each other despite being in different classes. St. Augustine already has both Karr and John Curtis on its schedule. Curtis and Karr have worked toward playing in Week 4, though it's still officially an open date on both schedules.
All three of the big powers have ESPN 150 players. Karr has two, with Noil joined by defensive lineman Gerald Willis, who missed the spring game with a hand injury. The Cougars also have LSU-committed linebacker Donnie Alexander and highly-regarded tight end Anthony Jones.
They beat St. Augustine in last year's 4A semifinal in a game that featured an absurd amount of talent sharing the field. Along with Fournette, the Purple Knights (who moved up to Class 5A for this season) already have four players committed to major programs, a list that includes Texas commits Jermaine Roberts and Courtney Garrett and Florida commit Joseph Paul.
And the best of all of them might be Curtis, the national champion in several major prep rankings last season (ESPN.com's power rankings had the Patriots at No. 5) who return a slew of talented players led by ESPN 150 wide receiver Malachi Dupre, four-star linebacker Kenny Young and major secondary prospects Mattrell McGraw and Terrence Alexander.
The best news? They might all be playing each other this fall. If you like football prospects, you might want to stake your claim for a spot in Tad Gormley Stadium.
Here are some of the fall's showcase events:
Sept. 7 -- McDonogh 35 (Louisiana 4A semifinalist) vs. St. Augustine (Louisiana 4A semifinalist)
Sept. 13 -- Karr (4A state champion) vs. St. Augustine