by Ryan Mosser
It was an amazing night in Monroe LA as the West Monroe Rebels traveled across town to take on the Neville Tigers. This was a unique match-up as both teams were defending State Champions. West Monroe won the 5A title in 2009 and Neville won the 4A title in 2009. There was so much excitement in and around the stadium as fans from both sides showed up early to get the best seat in the house.
Prior to the kick-off, U.S. Marine SSgt. Canchucaja presented players from both schools with the Scholar Athlete Award. Paul Turner was the recipient from West Monroe High School and accepted his award with his parents Carl and Paula, while Reagan Crotwell was the recipient from Neville High School and was accompanied by his parents, Jim and Lori. After the presentation, it was time for football!
The first half saw West Monroe strike first with a touchdown but missed the extra point, making it 6-0 Rebels. Neville fought furiously, and a buzz grew throughout the entire stadium as the Number 1 ranked Rebels took a slim 13-7 lead into the half.
Halftime of this particular game will be remembered around Monroe for a long time, as the Hall of Fame presentation included two stellar former athletes from the schools. SSgt. Canchucaja accompanied the two Hall of Fame recipients–Larry Anderson of Neville and Brian West of West Monroe–to mid-field to present them with the Hall of Fame trophies. Mr. Anderson owns 4 Super Bowl kick return records as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Mr. West won a National Championship in 2003 at LSU and was also a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. Both men were honored and humbled by the experience.
As the second half started, both teams could taste potential victory. A controversial call in the third quarter on a muffed kick, which upon further review was not actually a muffed kick, took the ball away from the Neville Tigers and put all the momentum on the side of the Rebels. West Monroe capitalized off that turnover and never looked back, finishing an impressive evening with a 34-7 final score. That final is no indication of the game that Neville played, but at the same time it was a great night for West Monroe.
After the handshakes, SSgt Canchucaja presented the MVP Trophy and Medal to West Monroe QB Paul Turner, then gave the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Trophy and hats to the West Monroe Rebels in front of all of their fans. It was a special night in Louisiana.
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- West Monroe vs. Neville – 2010