‘Bayou Boys’ honored 50 years later
The team, affectionately called the “Bayou Boys,” rebounded from a winless season to capture the West Bank championship and win the first Catfish Bowl the next season. Morris Friloux, 77, who coached the Bayou Boys, still keeps in touch with his surviving team members to this day.
Friloux had no prior coaching experience when he took over the Des Allemands Elementary squad in 1960. The team lost every single game that year and was often ridiculed by other teams.
But the next season, the Bayou Boys got the last laugh.
Friloux made some major changes in 1961, including having the team practice plays in Cajun French. The language came across naturally to the players, who Friloux said were often late to school because they had to help their families catch catfish in the mornings. Friloux also helped get the team new equipment that year, which was much nicer than the ragged pads, helmets and pants they had used the previous season.
That was all it took for Des Allemands to stun their competition, and the team capped an undefeated season with a 32-6 win over Mimosa to capture the West Bank championship. But the town wanted more and Friloux suggested a bowl game in which his squad would take on the best team from the East Bank. Des Allemands won what would be called the Catfish Bowl, 7-6, over St. Charles Catholic.
The surviving members of the team will join Friloux on Saturday, July 9 at 11 a.m. when they will be presented with a replica Catfish Bowl trophy at the Louisiana Catfish Festival. The original trophy burned down in a fire.
For more information on the Bayou Boys, visit www.catfishbowl61.com.
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