Patterson, unlike some much bigger high schools in the state, has two former standouts wearing the purple and gold.
Senior Joey Crappell and freshman Kenny Hilliard are both expected to see a lot of playing time against second-ranked Alabama.
“It’s great for the school and for the community,” Patterson High School assistant principal Mark Spradling said. “Kenny and Joey represent the school well; they do a good job on and off the football field. They’re both high character kids.”
Crappell played defensive line, tight end and long snapper at PHS earning all-district honors in 2006.
“I’m extremely proud of what Joey has accomplished at LSU,” Patterson head football coach Tommy Minton said. “He walked on at LSU, earned a full scholarship and he was voted as a team captain this year. Kenny gets more attention because he scores touchdowns, but they both worked extremely hard to get where they are. I will be rooting for LSU Monday and even harder our boys.”
Crappell, the Tigers’ starting long snapper, is the special team’s captain.
The senior will have his own cheering section in the dome tonight.
Eleven members of his family have been in New Orleans since Friday and all will attend the game.
“We feel blessed and truly thankful that Joey and our family got to experience his five years at LSU,” Crappell’s father, Joe said.
Crappell redshirted as a true freshman in 2007 so he already has a national championship ring.
“Joey says it’s totally different this year since he is preparing as a starter,” his father said. “He also thought he would be back in a national championship game every season, so now he’s trying to point how special this is to the Kenny’s of the world.”
Hilliard, a true freshman, had five carries for 20 yards in the first seven games, but in the past six, he has 300 yards and eight touchdowns on 52 carries, plus a touchdown reception.
At Patterson High, the 240-pound running back became the all-time leading rusher in Louisiana high school football history with 8,603 yards. He was a three-time member of the LSWA Class 3-A all-state football team and three-time LSWA 3-A Outstanding Offensive Player.
Hilliard will have his mother and sister in attendance tonight while the majority of his family will be watching here in Patterson.
“Dalton is coming down and we will all get together at my brother Larry’s house,” Hilliard’s uncle Curtis Hilliard said.
Hilliard is part of the first family of Patterson football. Uncles Dalton and Ike both played pro football, while several other family members played college ball. Dalton, a former LSU and New Orleans Saints standout, currently ranks second in LSU history with 4,050 rushing yards. Ike also won a national championship in the Superdome with the Florida Gators in 1996.
“We all watch and critique what’s going on since we all played,” C. Hilliard said.
“I think LSU should win and my nephew should play well,” he added. “They are prepared and they have more talent than Alabama. Everyone gives ‘Bama more credit because of (coach) Nick Saban, but Les (Miles) is a great big-game coach.”
All of St. Mary Parishes students showed their support for the Tigers as well today.
“The entire St. Mary Parish School System wishes the LSU Tigers much success in their quest to win the BCS championship. Special wishes are extended to our homegrown Tigers Kenny Hilliard and Joey Crappell, graduates of Patterson High School. In support of our LSU Tigers, the student, staff and professionals dress code standards will be relaxed Monday to permit wearing LSU shirts with jeans,” Superintendent Donald Aguillard said Friday.
Just paint the town purple and gold.