Blue Jay Field - a tradition of winning
Sept. 3, 1993 is a date that will be remembered for a long time by the Blue Jay nation as the first football game played at St. Edmund’s own football field.
The Blue Jays beat rival Sacred Heart of Ville Platte, 36-0 on that historic night.
St. Edmund athletic director and head football coach James Shiver was a senior on the 1993 team – a group that finished 4-7 overall and lost to Vermilion Catholic 51-13 in the first round of the Class 1-A playoffs.
Even with just four wins, Shiver still has fond memories of the 1993 season especially the game against the rival Trojans.
“The night before the first game the dads had painted a Blue Jay in the middle and blue and whte checkerboards in the end zones,” Shiver said. “We watched Sacred Heart get off the bus and they ran and started stomping on the Blue Jay.
“That ignited a fire inside everybody on the team,” Shiver said. “Everything happened right for us.”
Blue Jay quarterback Alex Pucheu threw for 296 yards with touchdown strikes to Shiver, Shane Heinen and Will Montz.
“We shut them down and beat them pretty good,” he said.
“It was an exciting night playing in front of a huge crowd,” he said. “It was a great win to open the new stadium.”
St. Edmund’s first home playoff win at the present stadium came in 1994 as the Blue Jays earned a 14-11 victory over St. John’s: Scott Richard’s first season as their head coach.
Kevin Darbonne scored on a short run and Heinen caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Pucheu for the game winner.
Heinen finished with five catches for 74 yards against St. John’s, but it was the 12-7 second-round home loss to Logansport he remembers the most.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Jays recovered a fumble at Tigers’ 40 yard line with 3:57 left.
“I remember I caught a pass at the 10-yard line and got us to the two-yard line with 10 seconds left,” Heinen said. “But they did a goal line stand and our season was over.”
After three straight opening round losses, the Blue Jays opened the 1998 playoffs with home wins over Hanson Memorial (40-3) and Basile (14-0) with Dan Christman as head coach before falling at Kentwood (42-0) in the quarterfinals.
Ed Cormier’s second stint at St. Ed’s saw the Blue Jays earn home playoff wins over East Iberville (54-22) in 1999, Hanson (40-21) in 2000 and a road win at Cedar Creek (21-19) in 2001.
Richard returned as St. Edmund’s head coach in 2002 and the next season, the Blue Jays advanced to their last semifinal appearance.
“We won two home playoff games that season (Northwood Lena 20-14 and Loreauville (34-27), he said.
The Blue Jays then went to Block and earned a 28-24 win in the quarterfinals.
“We lost to Vermilion Catholic at Blue Jay Field (35-7) in the semifinals to Vermilion Catholic,” the coach said. “They went on to win the state championship that year.”
With Ward Courville as the head coach, the Blue Jays earned a first round home win over Ringgold (37-22) in 2004.
St. Ed’s head coach Tom Andrus led the Jays to a a 31-24 first round home victory over Southern Lab in 2007.
Thomas David’s 2010 team opened the playoffs with a 32-20 home win over Delcambre as the Jays advanced to the state quarterfinals.
The 2011 team rolled to a 42-0 win over Arcadia at SEH field to open the playoffs.
David’s 2013 team opened the playoffs with a first round bye and then cruised to a 48-34 home win over Ascension Catholic before falling at Cedar Creek in the quarterfinals.
The Blue Jays defeated Metairie Park-Country Day 44-31 in 2014 to advance to the quarterfinals.
St. Edmund’s most recent home playoff win was in 2017 when the Blue Jays grabbed a 22-7 first round win over St. Fredrick.
At the old EHS stadium, the Blue Jays earned their first home playoff win, a 14-7 victory over Coushatta in the 1962 semifinals, that sent St. Ed’s to its first championship game during Cormier’s first run as the head coach.
In 1966, the Blue Jays defeated Benton (21-14) in the quarterfinals.
With Joe Nagata as his head coach, Richard was involved in several historic moments with the football team.
Richard was a freshman when St. Edmund grabbed a 19-0 home semifinal win over Kentwood to advance to the 1978 title game.
The Blue Jays fell 45-16 to Catholic High of Pointe Coupee.
In 1979, the Jays won 28-22 at Kentwood in the semifinals.
St. Edmund was the host team in the title game but fell 3-0 to Port Sulphur.
“We had a lot of confidence,” Richard said. “We were big up front and we had a lot of good skill people those two years.”
Richard played defense as a freshman before moving to quarterback as a sophomore.
After losing to Port Sulphur in 1979, Richard said the next season the Blue Jays earned a 12-6 double overtime home win over the Broncos.
The 1980 Blue Jays stopped Port Sulphur’s 26-game winning streak, the longest in the state at the time.
The game was scoreless heading into overtime, where Richard scored on a five-yard run.
Port Sulphur tied the game to send the game to a second overtime period.
Chris Stutes grabbed an interception for the Blue Jays and Blake Courville scored the game winner on a four-yard run.
The St. Edmund defense dominated as Richard and Stutes both snared two interceptions and Freddie Fruge grabbed another one for the Blue Jays.
“It was unbelievable that night,” Richard said. “To lose to them the year before in the finals and then beat an undefeated Port Sulphur team was a pretty big win – it was really fun.”
Richard said the thing he appreciates the most about being a Blue Jay player and coach is the reputation of a St. Edmund player.
“When you talk to guys who played against us, they say we were one of the hardest hitting teams they faced and that we never gave up,” he said. “That is something to be proud of either as a player or a coach.”
In 1989 and 1991, with Donnie Bozeman as the head coach, St. Edmund earned first round home playoff wins (Hanson and West St. John) before Blue Jay Field opened.
Louisiana state representative Phillip DeVillier was a member of the Blue Jays football team when the present field was constructed and the first games were played.
“Growing up with older brothers who played football at St. Edmund’s I can remember going to the old field at Eunice Junior High and eventually the new Eunice High field to watch the Blue Jays play football,” DeVillier said.
“Having the honor to play football for St. Edmund following in the footsteps of my siblings was rewarding, however the reality of playing on our own field was and still is to this day unexplainable,” he said.
“I literally saw a dream of so many come to reality and to play under those lights on our own turf was absolutely amazing.”