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River Parishes Jamboree kicks off prep season

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 26, 1998

LAPLACE – Local teams will undergo a dress rehearsal for the opening of the 1998 prep football season as the Roussel’s Goodyear River Parishes Jamboree kicks off Thursday night.

East St. John and St. James kick off the sixth year of the jamboree at 6:30p.m. at Hahnville followed by West St. John and Hahnville at approximately8 p.m. Lutcher and St. Charles Catholic meet Friday at 6:30 p.m. atDestrehan followed by Riverside and Destrehan at approximately 8 p.m.The games will consist of two 15-minute halves but otherwise will be played like a normal game. Unlike scrimmages, special teams will be afactor and the players will be on their own on the field.

The annual River Parishes Jamboree social was held Monday night at American Legion Post 366 in St. Rose. Each of the eight coaches had anopportunity to talk about their teams and introduce their coaching staffs.

And every one of them praised the jamboree as one of the best in the state.

“We are excited to be a part of it,” Hahnville coach Scott Hildebrand said.

“It brings fans from around the River Parishes to see some real good football.”St. Charles Catholic coach Wayde Keiser said the jamboree is what highschool football is all about.

“We have one of the best jamborees going,” Keiser said. “It is an excellentopportunity to show off the kids.”Destrehan coach Scott Martin said that it is hard for the a Class 5A team like Destrehan to play lower classification teams because of the point system used to determine playoff spots but the jamboree gives them a chance to play the local schools.

“We get to play who the kids want to play,” Martin said. “We can play allthe schools in our region where they know the other kids.”The coaches of the teams said they will use the jamboree as an extension of the scrimmages held last week.

“It is like an advanced scrimmage,” Riverside coach Mickey Roussel said.

“It is a game-type situation but it is still a dress rehearsal.”Riverside is coming off a scrimmage at Archbishop Hannan. Though thefirst team offenses went scoreless, Roussel said the Rebels moved the ball very well, driving inside the Hannan 30-yard line four times during the game.

“The offense was effective,” Roussel said. “We had a lot of positive plays.We threw the ball extremely well. It was a good starting point for ouroffense and we just need to go forward with it.”Roussel said he could not have asked for a better effort from the defense.

Hannan, despite two top prospects at quarterback and running back, did not advance inside the Rebels’ 40-yard line. On one series of 12 plays, Hannancould manage one first down.

Roussel said the jamboree gives a team a game-type situation without the pressure of the games counting in the standings. He said he likes playingDestrehan because of the challenge its offense offers to his defense.

Destrehan and Riverside also play the same offenses, the wing-T, and the same defenses, the 50.

“Their team speed is probably more than any team on our schedule,” Roussel said. “We can gauge where we are with their team speed. It willbe good gauge and test for us and I am looking forward to that.”East St. John is also coming off a defensive battle against Hammond. TheWildcat offense moved the ball but turnovers halted the attack. Thedefense held Hammond out of the end zone and Greg Gathers returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown.

“It was a lot like last year when the defense was ahead of the offense,” East St. John coach Ronnie Stephens said. “Overall, I was pleased.”Stephens said the jamboree against St. James will give him a chance toassess his kicking game for the first time and also to correct mistakes made last week.

“Playing the caliber of football team we are playing, we have got to approach it with the idea we are playing one of the best football teams in the metro area,” Stephens said. “We are going to go out and correct somemistakes we made last week.”West St. John coach Laury Dupont, whose team is coming off a scrimmageat Lutcher, said the Rams will approach the jamboree like another scrimmage but that the staff will put together a game plan for the first time.

“We are going to see how well we prepare for a game,” Dupont said. “Itwill be a week of preparation just like it was a game situation.”St. Charles Catholic played Ellender in a scrimmage Thursday. Keiser saidhe thought his team got a lot of real good work in. Keiser said saw somegood things in the scrimmage and some things the team needs to work on.

They will get a chance to work on those things against the Bulldogs Friday.

“It allows you to go out and compete against someone other than yourself,” Keiser said of the jamboree. “It brings out the competitivefactor in you. You can improve on things and assess yourself but you arealways there to compete.”Keiser commended Lutcher’s defense as one of its best in years and that the Bulldogs’ versatile defense will help the Comets prepare for the season.

“They do a lot of things on offense,” Keiser said. “It is hard to prepare forthem but that will help us with preparing for other teams down the road.”St. James outscored East Ascension, four touchdowns to one, when thefirst teams were in the game. Chad Jasmin and Devon Dabney had twotouchdowns apiece. St. James coach Rick Gaille said the team got out ofthe scrimmage what it was supposed to, a lot of reps by a lot of players and no injuries.

“I am happy with the way it ended up developing,” St. James coach RickGaille said. “We started out slow offensively but the execution picked upas the game went along.”Gaille said the Wildcats would use this week and the jamboree to work on working on fundamentals.

“We are going to work on fundamentals and on doing things the right way,” Gaille said.

Destrehan’s first team offense outscored Salmen in a scrimmage in Slidell Friday night. The Wildcats suffered an injury on the offensive line butotherwise Martin said he saw a lot of good come out of it.

“Both teams got a lot of positives out of it,” Martin said. “We had successon both sides of the ball and so did they. I think both teams walked out ofit with a lot of silver linings.”Martin said the jamboree helps teams get a look at their kicking game and to give their players experience.

“It is important to get the kids who are not used to be under the lights, under the lights. We can play a game without it counting.”Lutcher also had a productive scrimmage against West St. John. As for thejamboree, Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said he will prepare for it like a regular game but will not put as many plays in because of the shortened games. And even though who wins and who loses will not be counted in thestandings, Detillier said the jamboree still has importance to the players.

“Try telling a high school kid that it doesn’t count, with their jerseys on, the lights on and in front of all those people,” Detillier said.

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