Tuesday of last week was a great, great day.
I attended spring football practices of the 2014 prep season, making a tour of Terrebonne Parish to catch a couple schools on the gridiron.
Oh yeah, and the LHSAA released the prep football schedules for the upcoming year.
As I said above – it was a great, great day indeed.
I love schedule day for prep football, because it’s so much fun to visualize and plot out all of the different places that I’m likely going to be in the upcoming season.
Sure, high school kids are unpredictable, so a lot of the preseason matchups we circle don’t pan out. But don’t be a fun sponge and rain on my parade.
Admittedly, the even-numbered years are a bit boring on schedule day, because we already know 90-95 percent of the slate before its release, as it is simply last year’s schedule flipped upside-down.
By that, we mean that the schedule is mostly identical, but the home and away dates are shifted, meaning that if School A hosts School B in one year, then School B hosts School A in the next.
But even with this formula, there are a few holes that need to be plugged in along the way, as some teams back out of their two-year contracts and other programs disband and get rid of their football programs altogether.
But no matter how it’s sliced, the 2014 season has me absolutely fired up, because there are storylines gushing out of the schedules and now onto our weekly pages.
Here are a few things that prep football fans should keep their eyes on as the spring football season bleeds into summer and we begin to think about the upcoming season.
CAN THE TARPONS AND
WILDCATS FINALLY PLAY NICE?
Last year’s game between South Lafourche and Destrehan was played without much drama – the Wildcats scored a comfortable victory over the home-standing Tarpons. But 24-48 hours after the game was played, whispers were heard regarding a possible spying scandal involving the Wildcats’ coaching staff. Those whispers became roars in the next school week, as several Destrehan coaches were issued criminal summons for hacking into the Tarpons’ HUDL account to obtain access to private practice clips, which showed South Lafourche practicing several shifts that they planned to use against Destrehan in game action. A lot of the players who played in last year’s game have graduated – several off to the collegiate ranks to continue their careers. But there’s no doubt that everyone on both sides will have Oct. 24 circled on their calendars – the rematch between the newly budded rivals. I, for one, will not miss this one. I know there’s still a lot of bad blood that exists on both sides. This will be a game that fans will enjoy watching.
WILL JEREMY ATWELL EVER GET TO COACH AT HOME?
Here’s the good news, Mr. Jeremy Atwell: you have just been named as the head football coach at Vandebilt Catholic High School – one of the most esteemed high schools in all of Louisiana. But here’s the bad news, Coach: you will start your first season with an incredibly road-heavy schedule against some of the premier teams in the area. In Atwell’s first season at Vandebilt, the Terriers will play their first four games of 2014 away from Buddy Marcello Stadium. As if just being on the road isn’t enough, the Terriers will take on E.D. White, Thibodaux, St. James and Patterson in the first month of the season – all squads that reached the playoffs in their respective classifications one year ago. We have nothing but confidence in Atwell’s ability to get things done at Vandebilt. But sheesh, it’s not going to be easy – especially not early in his tenure.
WHO’S READY FOR SOME
This year marks that rare October where Halloween falls on a Friday night. For youngsters, this scenario is perfect, because it means a relaxed Trick or Trick curfew because there is no school to wake up to in the next morning. But for the Sports Editor at a community-driven newspaper, it is a bit of a bummer, because it means Halloween will be just like an ordinary night for me – a night at the football yard watching a couple of schools do battle to win power points. This year’s Halloween schedule is loaded with intriguing matchups, including several games that should have direct playoff implications. In Class 5A, the game of the night has to be the cross-parish rivalry game between Thibodaux and South Lafourche – a game so intense that it was televised on Cox Sports Television last year. But in Class 4A, Halloween will also be special, as it will pit cross-town foes Ellender and South Terrebonne against one another. The Patriots and Gators share a football stadium, but not much else. These two schools make up one of the best football rivalries in all of Louisiana. For fans looking for another evenly matched game, E.D. White hosts Assumption on Oct. 31. That game always seems to go down to the wire.
CCA v. S. TERR? LET’S MAKE THAT HAPPEN!
The 2014 schedule is set and the vast majority of local teams have 10 opponents to lock horns with in the upcoming year. But three teams (South Terrebonne, Covenant Christian and Houma Christian) have a few open dates. Two of those opponents have a common open date, and we would love to play the role of matchmaker today so that we can make this game a reality. The opponents are Covenant Christian and South Terrebonne. Their common off date is Oct. 3. The reason why this game would be such a sexy matchup is because of what it represents in the hierarchy of local prep football. South Terrebonne is a program so well respected locally. They’ve had the same head coach for decades. Year-in and year-out, they are a strong, well-coached team. On the opposite end of the spectrum is CCA – an upstart program that has experience quick, fast success in its Class 1A endeavors. The Lions have rubbed a few local schools the wrong way because of their quick success. All of this is why this would be a perfect matchup for Oct. 3. CCA would get an opportunity to prove that it’s a legitimate contender, which South Terrebonne would get a chance to quash CCA and show them that they are still the little brother program. Let’s make it happen. First-year CCA coach Randy Boquet was a former coach at South Terrebonne, adding speculative fuel to the fire. Call Coach Richard Curlin at South Terrebonne and make it happen.