At this time of year, there is always one refrain you will hear coming out of the River Parishes.
“The scrimmage game is the dress rehearsal for your offense and defense and the jamboree is a dress rehearsal for your special teams,” said Hahnville coach Lou Valdin, uttering his yearly phrase.
For Valdin’s Tigers and the other River Parish high school football teams, the scrimmages are out of the way and up next is the jamboree.
Hahnville is playing host to the annual Ed Reed Jamboree on Thursday night. In the opening game, Lutcher faces Destrehan. Following the Lutcher-Destrehan contest, Hahnville will take on St. James.
“I feel pretty good,” said Valdin, whose team faced Northshore in last week’s scrimmage. “I think are further along this year than we were last year and I think we pretty much are settled on who our starters are going to be.”
Other coaches had similar sentiments coming off last week’s scrimmages.
“We had that fireworks start but it settled down and in the end, we had our usual good work,” said Lutcher coach Tim Detillier, whose team faced West St. John in its scrimmage.
For first-year St. James coach Dwain Jenkins, his team’s performance against Donaldsonville was more of a mixed bag.
“After going back and watching film, I still was very impressed with what we did defensively,” Jenkins said. “We still made a lot of mistakes as far as schematically, but I thought we played hard and our athletic ability allowed us to make up for some of those mistakes.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed in the way we played offensively. Our expectations are higher than that. We are playing a lot of young kids but we are not letting them use that as an excuse and I won’t either. We expect our kids to play better than that on offense. Hopefully, we can show some growth this week.”
For Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux, the jamboree allows his Wildcats an opportunity to work on things that might have been a little lacking in the scrimmage against Salmen.
“We will look at what we had little issues with from the scrimmage and try to get better every week,” Robicheaux said. “There are a couple of things that concerned me we need to work on.
I think we had a little trouble in goal line. I thought we had a problem in basic coverages here and there.”
As always, the jamborees come back to special teams.
“We want to make sure to get as many special teams on the field as I can. That is the most important thing – that we have 11 guys on the field for everything,” said Valdin.
The jamboree also allows inexperienced players a chance to get a little bit more seasoning before the start of the regular season.
“We want to make sure we get our special teams on and off the field and making that transition from having the coaches on the field to kind and help guide you through a game (like in a scrimmage) to being able to do that on the sidelines,” Jenkins said. “I really want to see us make that transition as far as being able to play at game speed with substitution patterns in all three phases of game on and off the field and working on communication.”
“I just hope we don’t have the deer-in-the-headlight look. I remember saying that last year. I don’t have a young team but I do have an inexperienced one and we kind of dug us a hole last year but we did climb out of it and make some plays. Maybe the fact we are playing the first game they won’t realize the lights are on,” joked Detillier.