A tough task awaits several River Parish teams that will be on the road in scrimmage action Thursday night.
St. Charles Catholic will visit University High at in Baton Rouge, while St. James plays at Amite and Destrehan takes on Salmen. All of the scrimmages are slated to begin at 5:30 p.m.
For St. Charles, the game in Baton Rouge will the first of a long stretch on the road to open the season. Because of construction of a new stadium, the Comets will play away from home for the jamboree and the opening two games of the regular season.
The Comets are scheduled to play their first home game Week 3 against De La Salle, but a delay in the completion of the new stadium could keep SCC on the road even longer.
The format for the St. Charles-University High scrimmage has traditionally been game-like. The teams will alternate a number of series involving the first and second units. One goal, said SCC coach Frank Monica, is to get in about 150 snaps.
There are other things Monica, in his 50th season as a coach, said he would like to see from his Comets.
“No. 1, I want to find out if we closed the gap on University High because they will be real good,” said Monica. “No. 2, we want to evaluate personnel. It will be a defining moment for some people even though we don’t have many options. Sometimes, you have to live with the people you have because you are limited depth-wise.
“When it comes to personnel, it could be some guys switching positions or solidify a position. Are they giving us 100 percent? Will they compete? There are so many things that will be measured. A lot of intangibles will be measured with this scrimmage.”
It’s also important, the SCC coach said, to see his squad face an actual opponent.
“We need to see fastballs. Blocking a dummy or blocking your own teammate is totally different blocking a defending state champion,” said Monica.
St. James at Amite: While many teams have opted for a game-like scrimmage, the encounter between the Wildcats and Warriors will be more of a scripted event.
Each team will start off with four plays each from the goal line. There will then be series of plays involving the junior varsity and varsity units. Every other series will begin at midfield. The scrimmage will then conclude with two running quarters.
“With our numbers, there is some disparity with our more experienced guys and some of our young guys,” said St. James coach Robert Valdez. “We are just looking to see how we fare when it comes down to the body of work that we have put in. Can we line up right? Can we block and tackle? Can we identify what they are doing offensively and can we control the line of scrimmage?
“Right now, you are just basically still in the evaluation stage because some guys didn’t get a chance to play varsity last year.”
Destrehan at Salmen: There will be a lot of new faces on the field for the Wildcats in Thursday’s scrimmage.
“Last year, we graduated 35 seniors so it’s a lot of new guys that have to step up and play – and really other than the spring game – haven’t had that varsity experience,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.
Salmen, said Robicheaux, should provide a good test.
“Salmen traditionally has been a hard-nosed, tough football team and it gives us a good measuring stick to where we are at and what kids want to play and what kids are not ready to play. Another thing, with the extra week of practice (due to the later start of the regular season), it’s time to start hitting experience. The kids are excited to kind of get in a game mode,” said Robicheaux.
The teams traditionally play more of a controlled-type scrimmage but in order to get experience with a new rule this year, time likely will be carved out for a live, timed portion at the end.
“We’ve never done a quarter before,” Robicheaux said of the live, timed quarter, “but with the new 40-second clock deal we might do that. That way we can get a little practice with that.”
As always, the scrimmage provides an early look for what lies ahead.
“You want to see where your team is. Things that you think are good might not be so much. Things you think you need to work on might be better. You have only being going against yourselves a lot so it gives us a chance to go against other people against live bullets and jut see how your kids react,” Robicheaux said.