De La Salle relishes biggest win, builds confidence –

By Kelly Morris, | The Times-Picayune on October 16, 2013 11:45 a.m. Click here for the original article posted on

Ryan Manale says it to anyone who will listen.

The second-year head coach wants to bring back a winning tradition at De La Salle.

He’s well on his way after De La Salle topped McMain 14-6 Friday. The Cavaliers (4-2, 1-0) are off to their best start since Hurricane Katrina, and one of the program’s biggest wins put them there.

“Talking to the athletic director and administration, they feel like that was the biggest win in football in probably 20 years,” Manale said. “Definitely, there’s a great vibe at school.”

McMain quarterback Omari Jones entered the game with the most passing yards (1,609) in the state, but he threw three interceptions in the game, matching his season total.

Senior safety Luke Kelly had two interceptions, four tackles and a fumble recovery and freshman defensive lineman Danquan Edwards had three sacks.

“We executed the game plan to perfection,” said Manale, of a defense that held McMain to a season-low six points. “We definitely had (Jones) scrambling. My defensive coordinator Rowland Skinner said the defense had the best week of practice all year long.”

Even with all the defense’s success, Manale said the offense’s performance has been more surprising just because of how young it is.

Victor Gaines, who moved to Houston from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, made his third start at quarterback against McMain. Starting quarterback Ryan Walden suffered a high ankle sprain in the Hannan game and returned to the lineup Friday as a halfback and tight end.

“Victor has done a great job, well enough where we couldn’t go back with the original starter,” Manale said. “We’re a very young football team overall. He’s always making sure we’re in the right position. He’s definitely a leader. It looks like he’s been doing this for 10 years.”

Manale saw potential in Gaines at quarterback when he saw film of him playing the position one game in Houston last season.

The Cavaliers, whose two losses have been by a combined 10 points, aren’t ready to slow down now, but their next task is a tough one. De La Salle travels to St. Charles Catholic (3-3, 0-1) on Friday.

“We’re playing the best football team in all three phases Friday,” Manale said. “We need to come back to earth and really prepare to try to hang around in that game.”

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