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Harahan River Coyotes

The Harahan River Coyotes RFC was founded in 2021 to play in the Robert Markel Cup, a social rugby league in the Greater New Orleans Area. The idea to form a rugby team came from Harahan Mayor Tim Baudier upon learning that Jefferson Parish rival Gretna had a team of their own. 

The colors green and blue were selected as are the team colors as they are the official colors of the City of Harahan The name of River Coyotes has a little more interesting back story. Prior to forming the team, city officials were dealing with a unique problem. Coyotes were crossing the river and finding their way into the city. It's not completely unheard of, but the reported sighting and trappings by animal control had significantly increased. 

Upon further investigation, it wasn't a random uptick in river crossings from the coyotes. They were being lured by a Harahan resident. The bait of choice, of course, was hotdogs. We tried to recreate this using AI and the results were a little unsettling...

A crude AI image of a coyote carrying a hotdog across a river.

We tried to recreate the origin story using AI and the results were a little unsettling.

A screen shot from security footage of a coyote running across the front patio of the team bar.

Thankfully we have this still shot from security footage from team bar Uncle Matt's Bar and Patio of an actual coyote who made the trek across the river. 

The Robert Markel Cup

The Robert Markle Cup (RMC) is a social rugby league primarily played in the Greater New Orleans Area. Current teams include the Harahan River Coyotes, Pontchartrain Poboys, Gretna Krewe, Crescent City Blues, and Baton Rouge. Previous teams have included the Biloxi Landsharks and Jackson RFC. The league is named after the long-time local player and coach, Robert Markel. The social league allows for rolling subs and is an excellent way for new players to learn the game and for all players to stay in shape before the start of matrix play.  

 

The majority of the River Coyotes CIPP under the New Orleans Rugby Football Club along with the players from the Poboys and Krewe, although a handful CIPP with the Blues and play with them during the matrix season. 

The River Coyotes' initial season in the RMC was more successful than anyone could have imagined. Under the guidance of Head Coach and NOLA Gold Player JP Eloff, the Yotes had to prove to the RMC Board they were worthy of participation in the RMC and had the numbers to put together a team for a scrimmage against the Crescent City Blues. The scrimmage resulted in a 14-14 tie. The Blues had a late scoring opportunity to take the lead but a massive hit and knock-on ended that scoring threat. 

The River Coyotes would then complete the regular season in 3rd place with a 3-4 record. They then defeated the Blues 32-24 in the 3rd Place Championship Game to even their record at 4-4. With no 3rd Place Trophy awarded. City officials from Harahan knew they needed to commemorate such an historic season. They then created the Golden Bucket. Initially, the Golden Bucket was a 3rd Place Trophy to celebrate that first season and to keep a record of every season following. That first season also included Sean McFeteridge, Jarod Cusimano, Daniel Boudreau, and Greg Cavalier all being named to the 2021 MVP RMC Team.

The Harahan River Coyotes pose underneat the goal posts following their 3rd place victory in the Robert Markel Cup.

Team photo following 3rd Place Championship Victory over the Blues

The Harahan River Coyotes hoist the Golden Bucket

Head Coach JP Eloff (left) and the Harahan River Coyotes lift the Golden Bucket. 

The second year of their program brought some changes. NOLA Gold Players Damian Stevens and Kevin Sullivan took over coaching duties as head coach and forwards coach, respectively.  Stevens, a Namibian national player, had initially agreed to coach the first year. Prior to the start of that year he signed a contract to play overseas. It is this reason, the Yotes wear the flag of Namibia on their jerseys. 

Under the guidance of Stevens and Sullivan, the skillsets of the players increased dramatically, but low numbers at practice and games made it difficult for team to compete. Just one year removed from their impressive inaugural run, the Yotes fell to last place with an 0-8 record. 

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