River Parishes fans to get taste of action this week

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The football proceedings this Thursday and Friday night are indeed exhibitions. Just don’t expect the atmosphere at Destrehan or East St. John to reflect it at all.

Because while fans turned out in droves to see their teams play spring and summer scrimmages against outside competition, this is their first real taste of the Friday Night Lights in the River Parishes in 2009.

It begins at 6:30 Thursday night at Destrehan, when Hahnville and St. James will face one another to kick off the Ed Reed River Parishes Jamboree.

Immediately following that contest will be a matchup sure to whet the appetites of even the most casual prep football fans — matchup of state champions between Destrehan and Lutcher.

On Friday, the St. John the Baptist side of things gets unde rway. West St. John and Riverside will go toe to toe at Joe Keller Stadium, with kickoff at 6:30.

Each jamboree game will consist of two 15 minutes halves.

The Destrehan/Lutcher matchup has been traditional jamboree fare, but this year there is a twist to it: it is a prelude to a matchup between the teams on Oct. 2, the last predistrict game for each team.

“(Lutcher coach) Tim (Detillier) and I talked about that,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “That if we scheduled one another in the regular season, we’d keep this game intact for the jamboree.

“We think we have a really good thing going with it, and we didn’t want to disrupt that.”

The Wildcats have toppled the Bulldogs in the jamboree in each of the past two seasons.

It’s a matchup of two similar styled offenses — both use almost exclusively shotgun-spread formations, using the pass to set up the run. But for those expecting a shootout — while there is no shortage of skill talent on the field when considering Lutcher’s Gavin Webster and Jarvis Landry and Destrehan’s Henry Lenox and Marcus Lane — might want to consider the defensive reputations of each team.

Hahnville and St. James are each being touted as top contenders in their respective classifications. Hahnville’s rushing attack is top notch, but its passing game sputtered at times a year ago. How new quarterback Brien Ensminger looks in his first taste of action as starter will be something to watch — ditto for Antoine Landry of St. James, who takes over for Marcus Dumas.

The other half of the River Parish jamborees has flip-flopped from the past two seasons, as the teams have swapped opponents.

West St. John will not face East St. John, but Riverside, in what will be Mickey Roussel’s first game back in charge of the Rebels after a year out of the game.

How West St. John’s defense does in its first action under new defensive coordinator Antoine Carter, who replaces longtime Rams defensive coordinator Elmo Boudreaux, will be of particular interest.

It will be a good test against a Riverside team that boasts an experienced and talented offense.

East St. John and St. Charles will end the festivities in a matchup where ESJ will have major advantages in size and speed. The Comets, though, have a big experience edge, with the Wildcats returning only two starters overall.