School Spotlight: St. Mary’s Catholic School (Natchitoches, LA)

St. Mary’s Catholic School is a small private school located in Natchitoches, LA. St. Mary’s was founded in 1888 making it the oldest school that I have covered in a School Spotlight article. St. Mary’s School is for students in Pre K-12th Grade also having the widest student age gap of all schools that I have covered. The student population is approximately 334 and the student teacher ratio is 11:1. St. Mary’s school colors are royal blue and white and their mascot is Max the Tiger. St. Mary’s is in the 1A LHSAA level of play and they reside in district 3. The football program also has a state championship that was won in 1977. The Tigers most recent state championship appearance was in 2015 when they were defeated by the Southern Lab Jaguars. Some notable alumni of the St. Mary’s football program include Petey Perot who was an offensive guard for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints between the years on 1979-1985 and Jerald Hawkins who was an offensive tackle for the LSU Tigers and continued his career in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Current Head Coach of the Tigers football team Aaron York has been at the reigns of the team for about 5 years now. Head Coach Aaron York has been a major X-factor for the St. Marys football program. In his first two years with the team, the Tigers had only won 8 of their 23 games. Since starting 8-15, Head Coach York has built up a strong record of 34-23 with 3 straight winning seasons. This past 2022-23 season the St. Mary’s Tigers had a stout record of 11-2 capping off the season with a tough 29-25 loss to St. Martin’s Episcopal.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Head Coach Aaron York about his teams past success as well as what we can expect in the future from the St. Mary’s Tigers.

“That has been our teams motivation in the weight room this offseason. We were one or two plays away from making it to the semi-finals and you never know what can happen when you get that far. But in order to overcome those one or two plays we gotta do things a little differently so our challenge is “what are you gonna do differently” so you can win that close ball game on the road down in New Orleans.”

Head Coach Aaron York

This upcoming season for the Tigers shows a lot of promise for the future. Only losing 4 Offensive starters and 1 defensive starter sets the team up for a successful season. Stepping in quarterback for the Tigers is Mixon Bankston who is also the point guard for the Tigers basketball team, making him no stranger to the spotlight. Other offensive threats for the Tigers include RB/LB Drake Griffin and RB Connor Jordan as well as WR/SB Ethan Busby , WR/MLB Ben Bienvenu, and WR/LB Braylon Normand. Another key player for the Tigers is OL/DL Mason Mathis who is filling in on the offensive line which was the hardest hit position from the Tigers graduating class. WR, CB, FS, Kicker and Punter Payne Williams returns as an impact player for a well rounded Tigers team.

A large return after a successful season sets up the St. Mary’s Tigers to be a squad that all teams should look out for this upcoming season. With the combination of experience and talent these players have, I see why Head Coach Aaron York is so excited for this upcoming season. This seems to be a turning point for the St. Mary’s Tigers as they look to make a deep playoff run this upcoming season.

St. Mary’s players lined up for the national anthem
Payne Williams knocking a kick through the uprights. Photo by Natchitoches Parish Journal