Comets, Rebels set to kickoff season in jamboree

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014


LAPLACE — Both St. Charles football coach Frank Monica and Riverside coach Bill Stubbs said the jamboree game between their teams this week is ideally, in their own minds, just that: only a jamboree, an exhibition which won’t count in the standings.

If only.

While each coach said the primary objective of the face-off — scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. Friday night at Riverside — is to prepare his team for the regular season, Monica and Stubbs also each conceded the neighborhood rivalry matchup means a lot to the players, parents and fans who support each school. 

“It’s amazing how many of our kids know their (players),” Monica said. “We don’t know them as well as they know them. You’ve got guys who went to (grammar) school with one another. They have relatives (at Riverside).

“The biggest thing for us is we worry about ourselves and how we can actively get better. This game is good for bragging rights, but it doesn’t count in the standings.”

Stubbs said his mindset about the jamboree tradition began as believing it to be a “glorified scrimmage,” but that it has changed over time.

“Watching (St. Charles) last year, they take it seriously,” Stubbs said. “And we have to take it a little more seriously. Not that we didn’t before, but it’s a different mentality. 

“The way we look at it, we have to make a sizeable jump in our performance from (Riverside’s scrimmage) last Friday. If we don’t do that, then it simply won’t be enough.”

St. Charles defeated Riverside last year, 21-14, in the jamboree.

Stubbs believes the Comets are better offensively than they were a year ago and said SCC will present a serious challenge.

“This is a classic St. Charles Catholic team,” Stubbs said. “They aren’t going to make mistakes. They play bell-to-bell, whistle-to-whistle. Everyone’s in the right position. If you’re going to be on the wrong end of the mistakes in this one, you’ve got a problem off the bat.”

Defensively, Stubbs noted the Comets’ secondary as particularly impressive and said the team’s outside linebackers stand out. 

“This is still part of the evaluation process, but it’s certainly  a neat thing to do it against a crosstown rival,” Stubbs said.

Monica, likewise, was very impressed with what he saw from RA in its scrimmage against St. Thomas Aquinas.

“They’re very efficient offensively,” Monica said. “(Their first team) scored seven or eight times and they didn’t punt once. 

“They looked like they’re in midseason form on either side of the ball. They didn’t reveal any weaknesses.”

Defensively, Riverside’s calling card is its size, Monica said. 

“They’re so large on defense,” Monica said. “Those guys are tall, thick … They present a world of problems.”

It will be the first taste of football “under the lights” for each team this season and promises to be an intense affair —   exhibition or not. 

“You’ll have brothers and cousins in action against one another,” Monica said. “And when it’s all over, everyone will be friends again.”