New Year, Same Teams: A preview of the 101st meeting between Holy Cross and Jesuit

For the 101st time, Holy Cross and Jesuit will meet up once again at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans on Friday night.

The Jesuit-Holy Cross football rivalry is a longstanding and fiercely competitive matchup between two prestigious Catholic high schools in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dating back to 1922, this rivalry is one of the oldest in the state and has a rich tradition that transcends the football field. The intensity of the rivalry is fueled by the deep-rooted connections and shared history between the two schools as they are both two of the oldest schools in the city of New Orleans with large alumni bases.

Holy Cross wide receiver Krosse Johnson

After the game is over, both teams line up for the presentation of the Golden Football trophy that will be given to the winner of the game. After the presentation, the alma maters of both schools will be played.
Jesuit leads the all-time series 61-40-1, with the 1937 game ruled “no contest.” It is the fifth-oldest continuously played series in American high school football. Last season, Jesuit defeated Holy Cross 16-12 in what was another classic game between the two on the 100th anniversary of the game.

Jesuit has eight state championships with its most recent being won in 2014. Jesuit is also the third-winningest high school football program in the state of Louisiana with 747 wins. The Blue Jays only trail North Louisiana powers Haynesville and Neville.

Holy Cross, who is designated as the home team, is looking to end Jesuit’s five-game winning streak. Head coach Scott Wattiggny is in his first year as the head coach of his alma mater and has led one of the most remarkable one-season turnarounds in Louisiana high school football in recent memory. Holy Cross, who finished in last place in the Catholic League last season with a 3-8 record, is currently 6-2 and picked up its first win over one of the nation’s greatest high school programs, fellow Catholic League member John Curtis Christian School.

The Tigers are led by one of the best trios not only in New Orleans but the whole state in quarterback Cole Canatella and wide receivers Koby Young and Krosse Johnson. They also have sophomore running back Ke’rynn Smith who has 505 yards and 10 touchdowns. If Holy Cross is victorious over their longtime rivals, they most likely have clinched a first-round bye in the Division I select playoffs with a victory.

Meanwhile, Jesuit has had a tough year so far. The Blue Jays have a 3-5 record and are currently sixth in the Catholic League with its lone district win coming against St. Augustine High School. Jesuit’s offense has only mustered 20-plus points twice this season which were in a 41-21 loss to John Curtis and the other in a 44-14 beatdown of Booker T. Washington High School. Jesuit will be led by an experienced quarterback Beau Perez. Perez will be playing in the 2023 Gridiron All-American Bowl on December 30, 2023.

Jesuit quarterback Beau Perez (Photo taken by Chauncey Augustine)

While the Jesuit-Holy Cross football rivalry is undoubtedly intense on the field, it will highlight the values of sportsmanship, teamwork, and camaraderie that both schools instill in their students. This long-standing tradition continues to be a source of pride for the Jesuit and Holy Cross communities, and it serves as a reminder of the enduring spirit of competition and unity that transcends the final score of each game.