Just as high school football coaches and players had definite target dates to shoot for with scrimmages and the start of the regular season, another disruption in preparations has taken place.
While southeastern Louisiana dodged a bullet with Hurricane Sally making a turn east toward Mobile, school officials throughout the River Parishes had to make plans based on an earlier storm track which led to school closings, and thus, cancelled practices.
“The first time we will be back on the field is Thursday,” said Hahnville coach Daniel Luquet. “We will practice on Saturday this week. It’s not something we normally do but we could lose three days, and you only get so many days to prepare.”
Getting back to practice on Thursday leaves only one week to prepare before the Tigers play at West Jefferson on September 25 in a 6 p.m. scrimmage.
Because of the late start to the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams will have only the one scrimmage and no jamboree before the regular season begins.
“For us, this week, we were going to try and use it as a game week,” explained Luquet. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday practice, Thursday have a walk-through and then we were going to do a modified scrimmage against ourselves on Friday.
“You kind of have that plan to try and do the same thing for next week’s scrimmage going into Week 1 but hurricanes really, really derail that a little bit.”
Scrimmaging on September 24 is St. James. The defending Class 3A state champions will host Amite at 6 p.m.
Teams have only recently been able to participate in full contact. The missed time due to Hurricane Sally in unwelcomed but St. James coach Robert Valdez said he thinks his Wildcats are adequately prepared physically.
“I think our kids have done a good job of getting their bodies in shape,” said Valdez. “Full-padded practice days help you prepare for that. I think if we can get Wednesday and Thursday in with contact and Monday and Tuesday of next week, I’m pretty good with that.
“I anticipate mistakes being made in the beginning (of the scrimmage), just like everything else, the more you play, the more you settle in with execution.”
Like St. James, Destrehan is slated to take part in a scrimmage on September 24. Destrehan will take on John Ehret at 6 p.m. The game will be played either at Destrehan or Hahnville, depending on if the Wildcats’ home venue is ready.
Along with the coronavirus and hurricanes, first-year Destrehan coach Marcus Scott and his Wildcats have had to deal with not being able to practice on their own field as the school’s track is being repaired.
“It’s always concerning, not only are you not on your normal schedule, all that stuff going on, plus you add the fact we have been going on the back field (for practice),” said Scott. “Since I have been hired, we haven’t had one practice in the stadium yet because our track was being renovated, which is a good thing.
“Sometimes, whenever it rains, we had to work around it just because if you have turf and it rains a little bit, it’s fine. If not, you are kind of stuck having to adjust. That’s what we have been doing.”
In other scrimmages involving River Parish teams, St. Charles Catholic will play at University High at 5:30 p.m. September 24 and Riverside Academy is slated to host Ellender at 6:30 p.m. September 25.
West St. John and East St. John both have decided not to participate in scrimmages. Lutcher has not yet decided if it will take part in a scrimmage.
All the changes and disruptions heading into the start of the season, said Valdez, is just par for the course this year.
“It’s the hand we have been dealt, so we just have to play it out,” the St. James coach said.