Local teams gearing up for Jamboree Aug 24

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006


Sports Editor

With the prep football regular season just less than three weeks away, football squads across the River Parishes are feeling the heat.

While players are vying for starting positions in twice a day practices through the smothering temperatures and humidity, coaches are starting to get a feel as to what kind of team they are going into battle with this year. And with the upcoming Jamboree, which took place last year just three days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, time is growing shorter every day.

&#8220You really can’t tell until crunch time,” said East St. John Head Coach Larry Dauterive. &#8220But with scrimmages and practices, you can get a pretty good idea of what’s in store from your team once that time arrives.”

Those practices and scrimmages are in full swing this week as kickoff times get nearer. This weekend will see some of the most intense practices to date, some of the coaches say, with a handful of scrimmages set for next Friday and Saturday.

&#8220We’ve still got some starting spots that guys are fighting for,” said SCC Head Coach Frank Monica. &#8220There’s a lot of decisions being made right around now. Still a lot up in the air.”

But considering the uncertainty experienced last year in the wake of the flooding of New Orleans, which took place just three days after the Jamboree in ’05, this season should be much more predictable. While coaches were left scrambling last year to reassemble some semblance of a regular season schedule, students were evacuated and unsure of their chances of playing much at all. Many new students found their way to the River Parishes in the meantime, injecting even more talent in already stocked local districts.

Take Johnny Owen at ESJ. As a junior at Brother Martin, Owen was an all-district athlete in search of a team after the Crusaders were unsure whether or not they would be able to field a squad. Dauterive said that he just showed up on the doorstep.

&#8220He just came right up to the field house here and explained his situation. We were happy to take him in for the time being. And after Brother Martin got their school open he tried it out but he came back. I guess he figured that he had already started something special with us.”

Lutcher’s Bulldog team from last season was possibly more trying than most, as their entire district was wiped out leaving them alone in 10-3A. As if that wasn’t enough, Lutcher’s field house was burned in an electrical fire.

But even despite Lutcher High’s misfortunes, River Parishes prep football looks to be as full of potential as ever. With the recent success and national prospects coming from this area, it’s left now up to these local products to see how far they can take it. Fans and recruiters here know that the River Parishes are already on the map. And even if they haven’t noticed it yet, college football at LSU should soon see it too.