NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Newman-Country Day rivalry has been 50-50 the last four years, both schools winning two apiece. Both squads know each other well, and know what's on the line tonight, but Coach Joe Chango asked his kids to "block out the noise."
“There’s always going to be a heightened level of excitement for a rivalry game. But ultimately what we preach to our players all the time, if you start to treat games differently, then you’ll never be a consistent performer. We have to perform at the highest level every single week, our opponent should never matter. I think our kids have done well with that message over the last couple of years. It’s OK for me to have the fans enjoy it, and hype it up, and do all that. It’s fun for the fans of both communities. I get it, that’s part of the game,” said Country Day head coach Joe Chango.
Another massive storyline, quarterback play. Newman’s Arch Manning has been lighting up the scoreboard in three career starts, including five touchdown passes last Friday. Tulane commit, Justin Ibieta, racked up 6 TD passes against Episcopal.
“In my career I’ve never seen a quarterback really like him. I think the biggest for me, his ability to extend plays is better than any player I’ve ever seen. He never gives up on a play. Very unemotional. He throws the short ball well, he throws the deep ball well. But again, every time you think you have him, he’s just able to get out of things, and has the awareness to push it downfield,” said Newman head coach Nelson Stewart.
“He really is poised. He’s got a real comfort level back there, and a confidence level you don’t see in freshman a lot. He still makes his mistakes, he’s still going to get a lot better at the position. There’s no doubt he has a lot of growth. He’s effective, he’s got a good group of receivers, and a pretty good tailback. He’s got some good weapons, so the pressure isn’t totally on him to have to make all these great plays. So he does a nice job of distributing the ball. He throws a good football, he’s smart with it,” said Chango.
This season Country Day dropped down to Class 1A, Newman stayed in 2A. So tonight at Yulman Stadium will be their only matchup of the season.