WC-EI quarterfinals grid match a historic event

Tryve Brackin

Never has a White Castle High and East Iberville High football game been more historic than this week's state quarterfinal contest in St. Gabriel.

WCHS has a state Class 1-A in 2010 to go with numerous state playoff deep runs and district grid titles. But that has not been the case for EIHS, or the previous St. Gabriel High/Sunshine High football campaigns that have more losing seasons than winners down through the years.

But this week, competitive seems have become very close.

The WCHS Bulldogs trimmed the EI Tigers in district play this season by a 22-20 score. That's like a close jambalaya cook off between the very best roux wizards from south of I-10. One can only expect another meeting to be determined by one or two important plays accomplished by the victorious team.

White Castle has been a surprise this season. Few at a distance expected the exceptional speed shown by Bulldog skill players. An offensive line went into the season as one of larger sized up front groups in the district.

But the combined speed and lines, helped the Castlemen garner a number three seed in 1-A playoff rankings. The Bulldogs showed a great non-district winning effort. They lost to a Class 5-A foe, but defeated a 4-A club, and two 2-A teams.

They lost to league champ Ascension CHS (already an early state playoff loser). The Bulldogs' only other loss was against ninth seeded 3-A Donaldsonvillle High in a high scoring 42-26 contest, giving them a regular season 6-3 (3-1) mark.

But let's turn to East Iberville for just as compelling a case for victory this week in the quarterfinals. The Tigers make their second straight trip to the postseason second round, winning the first school's playoff in many a sugarcane harvest.

Coach Ron LeJeune has turned around the Tiger program in recent time. He has a history of such accomplishments at other schools. The man is a builder. The Tigers enter the game this week with a 7-2 (2-2) record.

Although they played only a trio of 1-A non-district foes and one 2-A, they did take solid wins and a 5-0 record into back-to-back league losses to WCHS and champion ACHS.

East then closed it out with a pair of victories and then topped Grand Lake 28-20 last week to set up the game with WC. Now they get a chance to host the Bulldogs on the east bank with more hanging in the balance than ever before in the two schools long gridiron history against one another.

Expect a lot of traffic on the ferry boat and bridges north and south of St. Gabriel before game time, and the always Tiger fans' tailgating home game parties to be bigger than ever.

Factor in the number of state playoff showings by 4-A Plaquemine High, St. John High and WCHS over the last plus 30 years on Iberville Parish gridirons, this is a first between Tiger and Bulldog and that is something special.