Spring practices warm up prep football season

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 21, 2007


Sports Editor

With scrimmages underway and the release of the prep football schedules this week, it looks like another season to remember for the River Parishes.

It’ll be a season with a new look for a couple of high school teams as redistricting takes effect. The biggest change to the local landscape is the new Airline corridor district that puts Class 5A schools East St. John, Destrehan and Hahnville into district 6-5A along with St. Amant, Dutchtown and East Ascension. Only one of those schools failed to make the playoffs last year and all have had successful programs in the last five years. Throw in the fact that ESJ nearly plays four state champions in a row starting in the second week of the season and the competition that will be on hand this year is second to none.

&#8220That’s three powerhouses in a row that we’re going to play,” said East St. John football coach Larry Dauterive. &#8220Looking at it right now, we’ve got to have one of the toughest schedules in the state. But that’s what we want to do. To be the best, you’ve got to see the best.”

And some of the best is certainly what ESJ will be facing as they play host to nationally ranked John Curtis on Sept. 7 and to the 5A defending state champion Acadiana Rams on Sept. 14. The following week, the Wildcats are set to travel in a two-game road swing to face Bastrop, the 4A state champions from last season, and Carencro, who was ousted in the quarter-finals last year by state runner-up Sulphur.

But the biggest games in local 5A will come in October when Destrehan plays host to Hahnville, on Oct. 5, and East St. John on Oct. 19. The ESJ vs. Hahnville game will also be held locally as the Wildcats host the Tigers on Oct. 26.

Another school that will be facing a change of scenery in district is St. Charles Catholic as they move up from Class 2A to 3A. Comet head coach Frank Monica said that he’s glad that his team won’t be facing John Curtis this time around after falling twice to the Patriots for the last two years in the state championship game. But he added that being in district with Lutcher is no picnic either.

&#8220They won it all last year,” Monica said. &#8220So it’s not like it’s going to get a whole lot easier. But it’ll be nice to get away for a while. There’s a lot of history between [SCC] and Lutcher. You’re always going to have a good atmosphere and a good game there.”

Along with St. Charles and Lutcher in district 8-2A for the next two seasons are Brusly, Plaquemine and Port Allen. This year’s subsequent regular season meeting between St. Charles and Lutcher is set as the district opener on Oct. 5 at LHS. Both squads will be coming off of a tough stretch for the game as SCC faces a three-game home stand against East Ascension, St. Amant and West St. John. Lutcher also faces St. Amant and East Ascension in mid-September before seeing East Ascension and Broadmoor.

In Class 2A, Riverside fans will have a nice stretch of local games as the Rebels are set to play at home against St. Thomas Aquinas, on Sept. 14, and against St. John, on Sept. 28. Directly in-between those two games is right across the river as Riverside travels to West St. John. And on Oct. 5, the Rebels will again be local as they head up to St. James to open district

play. St. James, meanwhile, starts the schedule with early local games as their season opens with four straight road games, beginning with West St. John and Destrehan.

The Rams are the only local team whose district hasn’t seen much of a change as they remained paired with White Castle, East Iberville, North Iberville and Ascension Catholic. West St. John fans can look for the first five weeks of the season for a lot of local action even after the season opener against St. James. WSJ plays Riverside and St. Charles back-to-back in late October.