Fuhrer grew up a block away from the Hanson Memorial campus. When others were out throwing the football in the street, Fuhrer and his neighborhood friends were at what is now McCloskey Field on the HMS campus.
The rivalry game between the only Catholic high schools in St. Mary Parish brings back a flood of memories for Fuhrer. He played at HMS, coached there and basically grew up in the shadow of the school.
“Being a graduate of Hanson I know the whole thing with the rivalry — we’ve been lucky to have a winning streak here at Central Catholic,” Fuhrer said. “I guess I get up for the game. Not only did I play there; I coached there and have a lot of friends who send their children there. My mom still lives a block away from the school. I have family in Franklin. It’s the two Catholic schools in the parish, a rivalry game, but we’re just making sure we take care of our business.”
The game is special every year, but tonight’s should be one to remember with both teams riding high this season. The Eagles are a top five team in the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association Class 1A poll and Hanson is sitting at 6-2 looking like a certainty for the playoffs.
Recent history has favored Central Catholic with the Eagles wins being of the dominant nature the past few years, but this time should be different with Hanson’s roster packed with seniors.
“We know they’re much-improved,” Fuhrer said. “Those guys took a lot of pride in their summer workouts and they got themselves into this situation where they’re 6-2 and doing some good things offensively and defensively, they’ve got some good speed. They’re big; they’ve got some big linemen. It’s a challenge for us, we’re going to have to go over there and play well.”
Hanson has run the ball effectively this season with two running backs carrying for more than 400 yards — Kole Fluke (454 yards with six TDs) and Collin Broussard (470 yards with five TDs) — along with Beau Ancona not far behind with 388 yards and eight touchdowns, and Haden Judice has added 283 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers.
Quarterback Drake Rodriguez is a dual threat going 25-for-70 passing for 594 yards, five touchdowns and nine intercep-tions.
“They have some hard-nosed backs, we’re definitely not taking them lightly by any means,” Fuhrer said. “They’ve got a lot of good senior leadership this season. I’ve kind of kept tabs through friends that have children that go there and they’ve talked about how hard they’ve worked. They were looking forward to this season and prepared themselves and got ready for it. Having a 6-2 record is kind of the payoff, they’re going to be ready to play us.”
Central Catholic quarterback Josh Singleton has thrown just one interception this season on 82-for-125 passing for 1,416 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s also the leading ball carrier for the Eagles with 51 tries for 372 yards and four touchdowns. Lloyd Grogan has also been effective running the ball with 48 carries for 483 yards and seven touchdowns. Grogan’s num-bers would likely be more impressive, but he’s been rested in the second half of several blowout wins that has diminished his total.
Tyler Hoffpauir’s 21 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns leads the Eagles wide receivers with Dontrell Brown not far behind with 19 catches for 425 yards and six touchdowns.
Tonight’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m.