BOURG – Grand Caillou Middle School principal John Campbell took a look at the crowd inside South Terrebonne Memorial Stadium on Saturday and couldn’t believe his eyes.
Grand Caillou Middle played its first ever football game against Evergreen Junior High and a large crowd from both schools filled the home side of the stadium. It was hot, but it didn’t keep people away from witnessing history.
"We have people out here on a Saturday," Campbell said. "It’s college football game day and they’re watching middle school football. How big is that? That’s why I’m thankful for God for giving us this opportunity."
Campbell said the Grand Caillou Middle School community has always wanted its own football program.
After meeting with Terrebonne schools superintendent Philip Martin earlier this year, he was able to get the football program started. They have their first dance team, cheer and color guard squads, and their band provided music for the crowd during the game.
Campbell said there is a lot of excitement around the halls of Grand Caillou and in the community for its football team. Grand Caillou Middle consists of grades fifth through eighth. It is a feeder school for Ellender High School.
"It was real special. I just want to thank Mr. Philip Martin for giving us an opportunity to be out here and making sure we were able to put this together," Campbell said. "I thank God for bringing this community together. It solidifies something that should’ve happened a long time ago, but we’re happy it’s here. Grand Caillou Community has an opportunity to hang its hat its hat on the football program. Now we can say we have a team now."
Grand Caillou lost to Evergreen, 20-8, in its first game, but Wildcats head football coach/athletic director Marcus Washington said his team played hard for all four quarters. They have a small roster of kids on the team.
"Coming out in our first game ever, I’m just excited to see those kids just compete the entire time," Washington said. "There were a lot of times we could’ve given up, but I definitely want to say these kids just came out and gave everything they got."
Grand Caillou Middle had its first school pep rally for football season on Friday. As they prepared for the game on Saturday, the players got to spend time together watching college football. They also had a pregame meal and went through a walkthrough.
Washington, a former Nicholls State University football player, said he wanted to treat it like a "first-class college program."
"Just being able to get the chance to play in college, I just want to give those kids an opportunity to see what it’s like in the future," Washington said. "I feel like they came out here and enjoyed themselves. That’s really the main thing."
Grand Caillou Middle eighth-grader Xaviah Bryant stood out for the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. He scored the first touchdown in Wildcats’ history on a 50-yard run in the final seconds of the game. He also recorded an interception as a defensive back.
Bryant said the Wildcats are thankful to have a team of their own.
"I just want to thank the coaches for being great and supporting us," Bryant said. "We put in work at practice. We just have to come out and put it on the field. Our team we never give up. We just have to keep working and keep practicing."
For Evergreen, Jyshaun George, James Price and Darion Walker scored touchdown runs in the win.