"We were out there," Noel Ellis, Sr. beamed. "It was an awesome experience. It may be the best game I've been to and witnessed in person. Noel was excited although it was kinda awkward with us being in the middle of all the Bama recruits.
"When we got to the game, Coach (Marcel) Yates came and spoke to us. The A&M coaches gave Noel the thumbs up and 'Gig Em' signs."
The Karr Cougars, based on the West Bank of New Orleans, have been to the Class 4A state championship each of the past two years and finished as runner-up (to Franklinton and Neville, respectively).
The younger Ellis was a starter on both the 2011 and 2010 teams. Ellis, Sr. was a star in the secondary for both Karr and Tulane during the early 1990s, and dad also played an instrumental role (starting forward) on a Karr state championship hoops team that included eventual NFL DB Patrick Surtain and current Karr defensive coordinator Taurus Howard.
Karr, which has held the preseason No. 1 ranking in Class 4A for the past three years, is undefeated and seeded second behind only Neville, which beat the Cougars in the title game last December.
"We have a lil trip to Shreveport this week," dad said of Friday's six-hour journey to meet the No. 18 Northwood Falcons, 42-38 first-round winners over No. 15 Washington-Marion. "I hope the team doesn't take them too lightly so we get back home with a W and continue our road to the Dome."
Karr (10-0) trounced No. 31 Peabody Magnet from Alexandria in the postseason opener, 50-6.
"After Peabody came out and scored first," dad recounted, "we were able to come back and score 50 unanswered points."
Ellis and the Karr defense have been thoroughly effective throughout the 2012 campaign, allowing a total of only 64 points. Hahnville, which is still alive in the 5A bracket, put 13 points on the board against the Cougars (41-13 Karr rout in week one) and Archbishop Shaw managed to get 10 points (in a 45-10 Karr rout in week eight).
Karr's other eight victims were limited to single-digit scoring (with back-to-back shutouts vs. Salmen and Miller-McCoy Academy).
Ellis competed in The Opening, the prestigious NIKE summer event held in Oregon. He also participated in Gridiron Kings.