OUR OPINION: EA-SAHS more than a game

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The sound of thousands shouting at the top of their lungs is nothing unusual for Ascension Parish during high school football season.

However, while the shouting is usually contained to a stadium on Friday nights, a friendly competition revived after lying dormant for a few years brought back at least one Thursday of ground-shaking fun.

The scene for Thursday’s Shout Out event between East Ascension and St. Amant high schools was one of competition and rivalry between the two east bank schools, but it was also a scene of friendship and togetherness.

Anyone from or having lived in Ascension Parish for any decent period of time knows that there’s nothing quite like the rivalry between East Ascension and St. Amant high schools. When these two schools play, records go out the window. This is the only game that counts in some fans’ minds. For the longest time in this neck of the woods, you were either a Spartan or a Gator. Some families even live within divided households, donning the blue and gold or the black and gold to root for their school when it comes to a head-to-head contest.

With Dutchtown High School returning to the parish within the past decade, a new wrinkle has been formed in the competitive spirit of high school support here in Ascension Parish. But the EA-St. Amant rivalry seems to have something  that keeps it in a league of its own.

The rivalry lost a bit of its luster for a couple of years, as East Ascension fell down to a Class 4A ranking within the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. The two schools still played each other annually, but there were no league implications on the line. However, prior to last season, EA moved back up into Class 5A, putting it in the same district with not only St. Amant, but Dutchtown as well.

The pep rally capped a week of activities between both schools that included a golf tournament, volleyball match and more. Backers of both schools even joined forces to cook jambalaya prior to the Shout Out Thursday, showing that the dish is a tie that binds even rival schools.

The rivalry even took an “old school” turn when EA’s Spartan statue turned up at The Pit Friday dressed in St. Amant gear.

In the end, St. Amant walked away with the “Spirit Stick,” but East Ascension claimed a 13-7 win in Friday’s football game.

We applaud the two schools’ booster clubs for reviving an event that brings people together for the spirit of community. While some school rivalries can get unnecessarily ugly, East Ascension and St. Amant show that being competitive doesn’t have to mean tempers flaring.