Xavier Prep’s Football Team (1946)



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Seated: Peter Priestley, Albert Martinez, Ernest Morial, Alfred Priestley.

First Row: Assistant Coach Rogers, Warren White, Conklin Vavasseur, Anthony Lombard, Silas Connor, Elbert Martin, Lawrence Mc Coy, Joseph Lewis, Leon Bordenave, Assistant Coach Braden, Coach Priestley.

Second Row: Roosevelt Ward, Leland Crowe, Raymond Cannon, Alton DeLarge, Beverly Martin, Benjamin Prescott, Arthur Smith, Gerald Cheatham, Ripoll Robert, Leo Dunn, Leonard Robertson, Taylor Segue.

Third Row: Edward Tucker, Alton Richards, Therell Darensbourgh, Olizene Terrell, Albert Gregoire, Julius Davis, Ned Kennedy, Lawrence Chenier, Robert Wingate.

Note: Ernest Morial, the 1st black mayor of New Orleans, attended Xavier Preparatory but graduated from McDonogh #35 High School.

In the 1946 football season, the Xavier Prep Yellow Jackets finished in second place behind Gilbert Academy as city champion. Although the Tigers of Gilbert defeated every team in the New Orleans Colored High School League that year, the boys from Xavier Prep had proven to be one of the hardest fighting teams in the city. Both teams were invited to participate in the Youth Bowl Classic but the powerhouse Tigers of Gilbert declined the offer while Xavier agreed to attend.

Before entering the classic, Xavier played Most Pure Heart of Mary from Mobile on Sunday, December 1st before a crowd of 4,000 fans at Xavier University Stadium. With this win of 10-7, the Yellow Jackets would meet the Mobile Industrial Training School on December 14 in the finals.

The Youth Bowl Classic was started one year earlier in 1945 with Bogalusa High defeating Galveston Texas High by 12 points.

Xavier’s coaches were busy for the next two weeks, drilling their fighting Yellow Jackets for the coming battle. Regardless of who was favored to win, the game was expected to draw the largest high school crowd of any that year.

Mobile arrived with three busloads of fans to the Crescent City. Band demonstrations preceded the game and Miss Josie Young reigned as “Miss Youth of 1946” with Janice Smith, Rosemary Belange, and Thelma Cox, serving as maids.

Unfortunately, local fans left very disappointed that Saturday night. The Mobile Whippets defeated the Yellow Jackets with a final score of 6 to 0 that night. The boys from Plateau, Alabama won by a touchdown.

Top honors for Xavier Prep went to Earl Millaud, Anthony Lombard, Joseph Lewis and Benjamin Prescott. With the game finally over, local prep schools began putting the pigskins away while courts were being prepared for basketball season.


Sources: Photo- Xavier University Preparatory/1946 Yearbook, [Courtesy of Xavier University Archives and Special Collections]; The Louisiana Weekly, 07 December 1946 p.6 + 14 December 1946 p.6; + 21 December 1946 p.7

Lolita V. Cherrie

4 thoughts on “Xavier Prep’s Football Team (1946)

  1. This photo is incredible! Five of these gentlemen were my “uncles” growing up in Los Angeles, and were among my dad’s closest friends. I distinctly remember them talking about their football days at Xavier when I was a little girl-Ripoll Robert (my dad’s cousin), Benny Prescott, Conklin Vavasseur (who’s extended family), Peter Priestley, and Beverly Martin. I knew several of the others (Alfred Priestley, Elbert Martin, Lawrence Chenier), and two married cousins of my parents (Leon Bordenave and Joseph Lewis.). Thank you so much for this and the work you do.

  2. To: Jennifer Garnier Morris
    I am sure you and my husband are related. He graduated from Gibert Academy in 1944 and knew many of your “uncles”. If you want more info e-mail me. I am the genealogist in the family.

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