by Wyatt Vaughn, Senior, Holy Cross
After another exciting week of Louisiana football, the weekly Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club Luncheon commenced this past Tuesday. The weekend kicks off Friday night with great High School football matchups all around. On Saturday, Tulane looks to keep its hot streak as they travel to Ohio to square off with the University of Cincinnati, and the LSU Tigers look to keep their undefeated season going as they travel to Gainesville to take on the #22 ranked Florida Gators. The New Orleans Saints will be welcoming the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night matchup where fans hope to see Drew Brees break the all-time passing yards record at home in the Superdome, an incredible achievement.
The luncheon kicked off with the Week 6 Prep Player of the Week, Sophomore running back Montrelle Johnson of De La Salle High School. Johnson led the Cavalier’s offense with multiple rushing touchdowns as they knocked off Riverside 45-21, moving De La Salle to 2-2 on the season ahead of a matchup against Haynes Academy. Johnson will be honored at the year-end luncheon of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club on Dec. 11 at Rock’n’Bowl at 3016 South Carrollton Avenue, where the club meets each Tuesday during the football season.
This week’s speakers kicked off with Archbishop Hannan Head Coach Scott Watney, praising his staff saying, “I believe we have the best coaching staff in the state.” He highlighted the incredible fact that when he took over, just 4 years ago, the team ended that season at 1-9. Now, they have started the 2018-19 season at 5-0. Noting how special this team is because it is his first senior class that was always under him, Watney made a bold prediction that this Hannan football team will become just the 3rd in school history to win a District Championship.
John Ehret High School head coach Marcus Scott also spoke to the crowd about his 4-1 start for the Patriots. Commenting on how tough their schedule was at the beginning of the season, Scott remains very proud of his team for getting out of it with only 1 loss. He also noted that the turning point for them was beating Destrehan High School. Before that game they were just 1-1 with no real team identity. After a thrilling 37-35 win over a high ranked Destrehan, coach Scott knew his team was coming along.
Next up to the stage was Tulane Color Analyst Steve Berrios. Berrios was very excited to speak this week after Tulane pulled off a huge win last Friday, defeating Memphis 40-24. He noted that the Tulane players rose to the occasion after a disappointing game the week before. Although they didn’t play well that week against nationally ranked Ohio State, he credited the second half of that game for their confidence, “In the second half of that game the defense really gained confidence and swagger after holding the Buckeyes to only one score.”
The second to last speaker of the afternoon was former LSU defensive lineman Marlon Favorite, who expressed his incredible pride in this LSU team, no matter what happens the rest of the season. Although that he would love to see the Tigers take down the #22 ranked Florida Gators in the swamp this weekend, he reminded the audience that playing in Gainesville takes a lot of discipline because of the intense crowd. Favorite believes his Tigers are up for the task.
This week’s featured speaker was Fox Sports sideline reporter Jen Hale. Hale, also the sideline reporter for the Pelicans, focused on how very impressed she with how the Pels looks this preseason, especially with how Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday have handled themselves so far. She also said that the addition of Julius Randle has been great for the team as she sees him as a great locker room leader. Moving on to football, Hale was also very excited about the Saints after extending their winning streak to 3, after dropping the opener. She said this Monday’s game will be her favorite game so far, as she is excited to root for Drew Brees to break the all-time passing yards record and for Mark Ingram to be back on the field, saying that this team is extremely special.
After the luncheon I had time to talk more with Jen Hale. Hale, who is a New Orleans native, received her education at LSU where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, captained the cheerleading team, and was named both homecoming queen and Miss LSU. Although she travels all over the country, she has maintained her fandom for the Pelicans, Saints, and LSU, as she is a New Orleans girl at heart. She is a very busy women with all kinds of ventures including her reporting job and her non-profit organization Sideline Pass, which helps empower and educate young women to be successful. A big part of her life was when she was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy in 2016, a potentially fatal heart disease. Hale was faced with three options of having five years to live, trying to find a heart transplant, or taking medication that only worked on ⅓ of the patients. Escaping the first two options, Hale called it “an act of God,” that the medicine did work for her. After being successfully treated, she went back to what she does best which is reporting on football and basketball games.
Every week, Chevron and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation also recognize a male and female Scholar Athlete of the Week, for excellence in the classroom as well as on the fields of athletic competition. Additionally, each recipient will be recognized on field during the 2018 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, on December 15th. Finally, all winners will be invited to a future Pelicans basketball game where there will be a drawing for one male and one female to receive a $5,000 scholarship. This week’s recipients were:
Emma Freeman, Isidore Newman School
- Cumulative GPA: 4.8438
- 1580 SAT Score
- Member of Varsity Cross Country Team
- Loyola Preparatory Arts Program Piano Student
- Co-President of the Science Olympiad Team
- Co-President of Genders and Sexualities Alliance
- Tulane Science Scholars Program – Engineering Student
- Member of the School Choir
- Volunteer for LASPCA and the St. Bernard Project
- Clarence C. Henson Award for highest grade point average by a varsity letter-person
- Mann award for excellence in study of Spanish
- Dryer Biology Award
- Columbia University Book Award
- 2nd place – Systems Software – Louisiana State Science Engineering Fair
- Louisiana representative 2018 USA Regional Brain Bee Championship
- Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award for outstanding achievement
- Isidore Newman Cum Laude Society
Brock Bailleaux, South Lafourche High School
- Cumulative GPA: 3.9
- 25 ACT Score
- 2017-18 Top Scholar Award
- U.S. History Academic Award
- Woodmen Life Award in American History
- 1st place award US History South Central District Literary Rally
- Varsity Track Coaches Award
- First Team High Jump Region 3A track and field
- 2nd Team All-District in Football
- Vice President – Future Farmers of America
- Honesty and Integrity Award Nominee
- Louisiana Boys State Nominee
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club promotes amateur and professional sports in the Greater New Orleans area on a weekly basis. The luncheons are open to the public and take place every Tuesday at 12:00 pm in the The Cannery at 3803 Toulouse Street. For tickets, visit www.GNOSports.com or www.RocknBowl.com