“You play to win the game”
Chances are you remember that quote.
Former New York Jets head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards made that statement in a press conference while he was still in New York. The soundbyte got played...and still gets played. It's been immortalized in Coors Light commercials.
And it's something to keep in mind about Friday night.
St. Thomas More and Acadiana. Round two.
And it's at Cougar Stadium. Deal with it.
I personally have no dog in the hunt. Not rooting for either team. Either way, I'll take pride in knowing that at least one of our Lafayette schools will be in the Superdome next week. Hopefully two...Go Teurlings!
No sooner did Acadiana roll over St. Paul's and STM get by St. Augustine that the talk started to move the game to Cajun Field. Great crowd, more money. Makes sense.
Well, you never heard that from anyone at STM.
Why? Because they're smart.
All week long we've heard the reasons why the game needed to be moved. Let's do a little examination here.
1. Not Everyone will get to see the game. True. Cajun Field holds 31,000. Cougar Stadium, not so much. And fans won't want to hear this, but this isn't about you. STM is trying to get to the Louisiana Superdome for the first time in school history. They've had their heart broken more than once. They're trying to avoid that this time around. STM fans who have supported the Cougars during the season will be able to see the game. So will those who supported Acadiana. So will some of the fans who are just getting caught up in the fact that two Lafayette schools are playing. Not everyone will get to see it. Oh, well.
2. It'll take forever to get out of there after the game. See #1
3. We'll have to park out in BFE and then walk. See #1
In case you missed #1, it's not about you. Sorry.
4. Schools always complain about not having money. Here's a chance to make more money. As Marty Fletcher used to say, that is partially correct. PUBLIC schools always complain about not having money. STM's athletic department is doing just fine, thank you very much. Would they also make more money? Yes. But it's not as big a deal when your athletic department is solvent. Acadiana moved a game one year (against West Monroe) to Cajun Field. Ask Ted Davidson if he'd do it again. Go ahead. Ask. There are a lot of logistical headaches when you move a game (especially five days before the date.)
5. There's no such thing as home field advantage in High School Football. That must have been started by an Acadiana fan. Like I said, go ask Coach Davidson if he would have moved the game. In football, it's all about routine. Get to the stadium at the same time. Dress in your locker room. Go through your warmups on your field. Go back to your locker room. And, in the case of STM, run through your smoke machine. Play on your field (which, by the way, has artificial turf). Go ahead, tell me it isn't an advantage. Go ahead, tell me.
Jim Hightower has been a head football coach in high school for a very long time. He's one of the winningest coaches in Louisiana history. He's a fine man and a helluva football coach. And he's not a dummy. He feels (and so does anyone without a dog in the hunt) that his team has a better chance to win playing at home. And, he's right. His job is to do everything in his power to get that done. And he is.
Jim Hightower knows that, especially in the state semifinals, "You play to win the game."
And he didn't need to watch a Coors Light commercial to figure that out.