Football fever running through River Parishes

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 29, 2014

Football is upon us. The wait is over. The games have begun.

The West St. John Rams battled cross-parish rival, the East St. John Wildcats, during jamboree action Thursday, and St. John the Baptist Parish prep football continued Friday when the Riverside Rebels clashed with the St. Charles Catholic Comets Friday night.

The high school regular season officially starts Sept 4 and 5, when the eight football teams in the River Parishes are scheduled for action.

This is music to the ears of our pigskin-loving region. And, it goes way beyond that.

Heck, even the launch of the SEC Network was cause for mention at recent meetings of the St. John Parish Council, St. James Parish Council and St. James Parish School Board.

The region will also have plenty to keep its eyes on, as the college and professional games are littered with players boasting local ties.

LSU starts its season tonight with a game against the University of Wisconsin. The nationally ranked Tigers boast four players — Ronnie Feist, Rickey Jefferson, Jordan Triche and Dillon Gordon — who graduated from local schools, and feed a local fandom that is as deep here as any place in the state.

Those eyes will be fixed on South Florida next week, when the NFL’s Miami Dolphins host the New England Patriots. The game marks the first for rookie Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry, a Lutcher High School graduate.

Landry was honored this summer by the St. James Parish Council — his mother standing in for him because of football requirements — for his athletic achievements locally and in Baton Rouge.

However, the name most insiders seem to mention this year, when discussing breakout performers, is that of D’haquille Williams. The former East St. John High School standout and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College star begins his season as a starting wide receiver for the Auburn Tigers.

Sporting jersey No. 1, Williams is sure to get his share of passes during his run with the 2013 Southeastern Conference Champions. Auburn opens the season this afternoon against Arkansas.

Darion Monroe, another East St. John product, began his junior season Thursday at Tulane, following a sophomore campaign where he started all 13 games at free safety and earned an honorable-mention All-Conference USA recognition following a year with 90 tackles. On the prep scene, St. James High School ushers in 2014 next week with a home game in its new stadium.

Ah yes. Football is upon us. The wait is over. The games have begun.