St. Charles, St. James set for 7-on-7 passing league to begin

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012




LAPLACE – For the fifth consecutive year, St. John the Baptist Parish hosts a 7-on-7 passing league outside of the library on Hwy. 51, and St. Charles Catholic and St. James are among 12 participating teams.

The action kicks off at 9:30 a.m. today and will go on for six consecutive weeks each Wednesday morning – with the exception of one, as the teams will compete on Tuesday, July 3 as to avoid conflict with Fourth of July festivities. 

The two local schools will be joined by Jesuit, Brother Martin, McDonogh No. 35, Newman, Ponchatoula, Dutchtown, East Ascension, H.L. Bourgeois, Loranger and Hannan.

The league matches up teams for three games every week against different foes, with games going on simultaneously in different areas.

St. Charles football coach Frank Monica said that the league has taken on added importance with the shortened spring that’s been mandated over recent seasons.

“We’re trying to make sure that our kids know the system as well as they need to. It’s very good competition, and facing that very good opposition will let us know exactly what we have. This is all very good for personnel evaluation,” Monica said.

“Spring is too short to learn the things we need to. Kids will come out and solidify their playing time, others will lose it.”

The Comets will be breaking in a number of new offensive players after the departure of key seniors that contributed to St. Charles’ state championship run last season. At quarterback, Jemal Baptiste and Austin Weber will be vying to step in as starter to replace the departed Donnie Savoie. It will be the first extended action of the spring/summer for Batiste, who was injured early in spring practice but is expected back for the league.

Monica said that he’ll be looking for receivers displaying a knowledge of pass patterns and route trees while looking for his quarterbacks to progress effectively through their reads. Defensively, it’s about reading and reacting to be in position to make plays.

More than anything, he said, it’s about exposing his players to strong competition before the real games occur.

“It’s good to do so that when you get into your schedule, your guys aren’t intimidated,” said Monica. “There’s always a lot of talent out there and this year won’t be an exception to that.

“There’s only so much you can do in practice against yourself. Competition brings out the best in kids and it also brings out the worst. We need to know which of those is true of each of our players.”