Cathedral High and Wayne Academy football players stood on hashmarks and saluted each other after their contest won by the Green Wave 34-14 in Waynesboro, Ms., Friday in the season-opener for both teams.

Such is high school football during the pandemic.

Cathedral head coach Chuck Darbonne and Wayne Academy head coach Todd Mangym agreed for players to not shake hands after their game.

"It was really a little strange," Darbonne said. "We weren't sure exactly what to do.  Todd and I are good friends and we talked before the game. We decided on just giving a wave and salute no matter who won. After the game we usually pray with the other team. In a way it was kind of like that."

The time leading up to the season-opener was also a bit strange.

"We have spent 11 weeks with these guys, three weeks training and eight works working, with three weeks of actual practice," Darbonne said. "We had no scrimmage or jamboree. We had no idea what Wayne would do, so we had three different game plans. Fortunately they came out with something that we had a good working knowledge of."

The pre-game was also a bit different.

"The lockerroom situation was a bit different, as well as lining up to go out to the field," Darbonne said. "Some of the guidelines interrupted our normal presume routine. But once we got out there it felt like football again."

And now Darbonne will continue monitoring and going strictly by the guidelines.

"So far since we have started we have had zero positive cases," Darbonne said. "The kids have been safe. And that's a positive."

As for the game itself, first-year Green Wave quarterback Noah Russ passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

Russ connected with Vidalia High transfer Christian Wright twice for scores, the first one covering 42 yards, while the second was 32 yards.

Wright also had an interception.

"Christian is a great team player and has worked hard all summer," Darbonne said. 

The win also avenged a 26-14 loss to Wayne in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs last year.

"We had a lot of incentive to come out and show that wasn't the type of team we were last year," Darbonne said.

Bryson Moore and Kaden Batieste combined for 192 yards in the game. 

Moore ran for 115 yards while Batieste ran for 77 yards with a 39-yard touchdown in the first half.

Cathedral visits Bowling Green School at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit on Friday.

The Green Wave lost to Bowling Green 20-0 last year in its season-opener at Cathedral.

Louisiana schools in the MSAIS are not allowed to host games in Louisiana because of Phase 2 guidelines set by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Following an open date because Madison St. Joseph pushed its season-opener to September 4. The Green Wave will face Hillcrest Christian in Byram before hosting Glenbrook on September 11 for its first home game


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