Pios kick off season at Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree

CROWLEY – The 62nd Annual Kiwanis Jamboree will help kick off the high school football season Thursday and Friday nights at UL’s Cajun Field.  Notre Dame will close out first night action against Cecilia.

 For 16 new starters it will be their first actual game-type situation.  The Pios wrapped preseason preparations with a scrimmage against St. Thomas More last week and had coaches and fans smiling about the results.

Notre Dame scored two touchdowns and the Pios defense did not allow the Cougars anywhere near the end zone.  Coach Lewis Cook had a lot to be encouraged about with the results.

“We got the teams together at midfield after the scrimmage and I told our guys and the STM players that all the years we have been going to work against them, it always makes us push ourselves to get better,” said Cook. “That’s what we want to do this week in the Jamboree, get better than last week and keep that going every day at practice and in every game.”

The jamboree will be the last chance to fine tune lineups and settle into the starting rotation before heading into the regular season.  The scoreboard will be on and the Pios will play to win, but Cook will be more concerned with evaluating players and building depth for those starters.

“It’s always nice to get to this point where we can go against someone else,” said Cook. “The STM scrimmage always helps us a great deal because they are always usually a little bigger and better than us.  We learn who is going to bow their neck and step up and who is going to back off a bit under the gun.  I didn’t see much backing off this time and that’s a good sign.”

Notre Dame has faced Cecilia 14 times in regular games dating back to 1970.  The Pios have won all but one game, a 1990 loss, and took the only game the teams met in the playoffs with a 21-10 second round win in 2006. 

The Bulldogs posted a perfect 15-0 season on the way to their only state championship, beating Karr, 12-9, for the 1995 3A title under then coach James Waguespack.  Current coach Terry Martin is trying to turn the fortunes of the Bulldogs who were 1-9 last year and last posted a winning season in 2009, finishing 7-5 and splitting a pair of playoff games. 

The step up to Class 4A has been a battle for the Bulldogs and playing in District 5-4A against the likes of Breaux Bridge, Northside, St. Thomas More, St. Martinville, Teurlings and  Westgate hasn’t helped matters.

Since ’09, the Bulldogs have stumbled to records of 5-6, 3-8 and the one win last year.  Having not played Cecilia the past six years makes preparation a little more difficult, but Notre Dame coach Cook has always kept things pretty basic with the Pios at this time of year anyway.

“We went against them in a 7-on-7 workout over the summer and had some success,” said Cook. “This time we’ll have our full teams on the field and that changes things.  We know they have a young kid that is one of the fastest backs in the state and I’m sure they will want to get the ball to him.  We’ll look at what they do offensively and defensively and use what we have to go against that, but there will be some things we want to take a look at and we’ll kind of script those in to evaluate our guys in certain situations.  We still have some places we need to work on and we have to have some guys step up.”

Notre Dame will open the regular season at home against LaGrange.  The Gators replace Southwood on the Pios’ schedule and begin a tough five game pre-district campaign.”

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