Sure, it was just a scrimmage.
But after going 2-8 last season, the South Lafourche High School football team needed to feel some good vibes.
And that they did — and more.
The Tarpons played well against Patterson on Friday night in Memorial Stadium, controlling the intensity of the scrimmage from start-to-finish in both the controlled portion and in the live quarter.
South Lafourche scored both touchdowns of the scrimmage, which coach Blake Forsythe said he was happy to see.
But he was even happier about the mindset of his kids. The Tarpons played with fire throughout and the sidelines were rocking throughout the 90-plus minutes of live work, showing no residual effects of last year’s tough campaign.
“After so many weeks of the same thing and playing against your teammates and the same routine, we were ready for something different — some new, fresh blood. The kids were into it,” Forsythe said. “But that’s just this team. We practice with that energy. We have music blaring and we really want these kids to have that passion. And I was very pleased to see that passion show itself tonight in the scrimmage.”
The scrimmage was controlled for several periods, before a 12-minute live quarter.
In the controlled scrimmage, the South Lafourche first-string offense got into the end zone when Braxton Pitre broke outside on a pitch play and scored — capping a long, successful scoring drive.
Patterson, too, had chances — especially late in the controlled period.
But they were swallowed up continually by the Tarpons’ defensive front, which recorded several sacks and pushed the Lumberjacks back for a loss more than a half-dozen times in the scrimmage.
Forsythe said his defense is mean and they love to hit people.
“Those guys are aggressive,” Forsythe said. “They played lights out today. They’re physical and aggressive and I’m just happy they’re tackling for us and not tackling against us.”
In the live quarter, South Lafourche got the ball first and methodically marched — a long, 9-minute scoring drive capped on an 11-yard touchdown run from quarterback Patrick Gisclair.
After an extra point from Jesse Torres, the Tarpons led 7-0.
Gisclair split time with Austin Danos for the first-team quarterback reps.
Both players played well, moving the offense forward by reading the defense and making the correct decisions in the team’s triple option-based system.
Forsythe said on Friday night that he originally wanted to pick a starter going into the week of the jamboree, but added that the competition between the two players may continue on before the season opener against St. Charles Catholic.
On Saturday, he said both players give the team different skills, adding that the decision is difficult for he and his staff.
“I don’t know, man. Do you have a quarter? We can maybe flip a coin,” Forsythe said with a laugh when asked which of the two players has an edge. “They both played well. We had hoped by now, someone would have made the decision a little easier for us. But it’s good because it’s a hard decision because they’re both playing well. It’s going to be a tough decision. And going into the jamboree, look, we may use them both.”
The Lumberjacks got their first opportunity in the live quarter at their own 30-yard-line and went backwards.
The Tarpons’ defensive front pushed them back, forcing a third and long, then fourth and long.
After a turnover on downs, the Tarpons took over deep in Patterson’s territory with just more than a minute left to play.
Instead of trying to push the ball in one more time, the Tarpons ran out the clock and ended on a high note.
After the scrimmage, Forsythe stressed to the team that the key to success is consistently giving a good effort — week in and week out.
But a good start helps, too. And the Tarpons sure got off to one in their scrimmage.
“I think it was important for us. And I think it was important for the fans and the community and the student body,” Forsythe said. “We had a rough season last year and we wanted to put something out there to give people confidence and show that this year will be different.”