Dogs, Gents set for Friday jamboree
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – Friday’s Acadia/Vermilion Jamboree at North Vermilion will bring a welcome change for the Iota Bulldogs.
Iota, which takes on Abbeville at 7 o’clock, will finally get a chance to line up against someone else other than themselves.
The Bulldogs’ annual scrimmage that was scheduled for last Friday was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Iota’s contest is sandwiched in between the opener (North Vermilion’s jayvee vs. Gueydan) at 5:30 p.m. and the nightcap at 8:30 between Crowley and the host Patriots.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys and they didn’t get the work in that we normally do in the scrimmage,” said Iota coach Marcus LeJeune. “Now they are going straight to the lights. It would have been nice to get a little bit of work before, but we’ll just have to do what we have to do. It will be like stepping into a real game.
“This is big for us. For those first-year guys, you start every year with a scrimmage and they missed that. It just shortened everything and now we’re starting with the jamboree.”
Crowley High, on the other hand, was able to play its scrimmage against Beau Chene. The Gents outscored the Gators 14-0 in two series and looked impressive doing so on both sides of the football.
“This is the final dress rehearsal for the opener,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate, looking ahead to his team’s game with North Vermilion. “You have an opportunity to get the speed of the game with the 25-second clock. In the jamboree, you get the feel for all the things that you didn’t in the scrimmage. You also get to work on sideline organization.
“Having your special teams ready, offense and defense instruction when they come off the field and also communication from the press box to the sidelines…. That’s all stuff that you get in the jamboree that you don’t get in the scrimmage.”
And with all that comes the competition level that both Iota and Crowley will face.
Iota will face an Abbeville squad that dropped down from Class 4A to 3A this year and returns 12 starters from last year’s squad.
“Abbeville is very athletic,” said LeJeune. “They return everyone on the defensive line and have some really good athletes at the skill positions.
“Offensively, they run the spread and try and get you in one-on-one situations. If some of those guys get loose, that could be dangerous for us. Their ability to score with the big play makes them very dangerous.”
Iota will again be fighting the numbers game, as most Class AA schools do, with numerous players playing on both sides of the football.
“They (Abbeville) are platooning and we have a lot of kids going both ways so that could be a factor too,” said LeJeune.
Tate’s Gents face a similar challenge in North Vermilion, which returns 15 starters, including quarterback Jared Broussard and running backs Jeremy Ryder and Jeffrey Johnson.
“North Vermilion was impressive in its scrimmage last week against Sam Houston,” said Tate. “They run the spread option and they do a good job with it. It’s an offense that you don’t defend very often and it makes you play assignment football.
“You have to be real sound defensively as far as taking care of the quarterback, taking care of the fullback and, of course, running to the pitch man. Then they have the ability to throw the ball out of it also and they have improved tremendously in doing that.”
Although Tate was impressed overall with his team’s performance last week in the scrimmage, he knows that the jamboree will answer any remaining questions he has before the season opener on Sept. 4 at Jennings.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement, there’s no question about that,” said Tate. “We’re excited and anxious to get started and play against another opponent. You can only get so good playing against yourself and you’ve got to see how you match up against other teams and other personnel to really get a true picture of where you are at as a football team.”
Tickets for the jamboree will be sold at the gate the night of the game. But they can also be purchased at the participating schools. All proceeds from tickets sold at the school will remain at that school while proceeds from tickets purchased at the gate will be split between the participating teams.