RIVERDALE AT SOUTH LAFOURCHE (by Perry Pitre)
Anyone who watched the New Orleans Saints’ penalty-riddled preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 15 would have experienced a profound sense of deja vu in South Lafourche’s scrimmage against Riverdale Friday.
The two teams combined for 19 flags during the two-hour scrimmage held on Ralph Pere Field at Tarpons Memorial Stadium.
‘It’s disappointing,’ South Lafourche coach Dennis Skains said. ‘Some of them are aggressive mistakes. I’ve got to go back and look at the film. If we see something dirty or really egregious obviously we’re going to pull them off. But the way we play defense, we’re flying around the ball a lot. You’re going to get some aggressive penalties that way. The holding penalties are a concern, because we had a huge problem with that early last year, so that’s something we have to clean up.’
Aside from the flags, the Tarpon defense looked solid, especially the front line, putting consistent pressure on Riverdale’s quarterbacks, and generating turnovers.
Riverdale’s first drive in the controlled portion of the scrimmage ended with Justin Cheramie intercepting quarterback Christian Smith in a drive that saw Smith sacked once and crushed at the line of scrimmage for no gain on another play.
‘At this point, the defense is usually ahead of the offense,’ Skains said. ‘It usually evens out around week two or three.’
Skains said his defensive line, despite being depleted by graduation, looks to be a strong suit for the defense.
‘This is a special group,’ he said. ‘We lost a lot of guys last year, but we’ve reloaded. We’ve got seven, maybe eight guys who can play varsity ball. We’ll be good up front.’
Offensively, the Tarpons were inconsistent, but seemed to get better as the scrimmage went on. Their first two drives ended with no first downs, but the third ended with a touchdown.
Starting from the 50, starting quarterback Harvey Allen hit Shakerrin Dillon for 12 yards, then threw a bullet over the middle to Tony Bailey for a 33 yard TD.
Allen, a converted running back who gained 131 yards on 17 carries in limited action last year, had several nice runs. The nicest, perhaps, came on a busted play with the center snapping the ball early. Half the offensive line didn’t move, Allen looked at the ball as if he’d never seen one before, but took off up the right side for 18 yards, juking several Rebel defenders in the process.
Allen led the Tarpons to two scores on the goal line drill, with the ball starting at the five. Dillon caught a 5-yard touchdown strike, and Allen scored on the next drive on a one yard run after Riverdale had been flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
In the timed portion of the scrimmage, Riverdale took first possession and hit on a 21 yard field goal. Two penalties doomed South Lafourche’s first drive.
Justin Doucet intercepted Smith on the Rebels next series, but South Lafourche could not capitalize, turning the ball over on the Riverdale 26 after driving fifty yards. The drive featured a 35 yard pass from Allen to Bailey, but then stalled.
Another Riverdale turnover led to South Lafourche’s next touchdown in a two play drive. Allen hit Dillon for 46 yards, then scrambled his way out of a huge Rebel rush, finding Kyle Angeron sliding to his knees to make the catch for a 20 yard score.
‘We have a lot of new starters on offense,’ Riverdale coach Brett Bonnaffons said. ‘Our starting running back broke his ankle last Friday, and we’re still adjusting. Our quarterback is learning. He’s a junior. He threw those two interceptions, but he made some great throws too. Once we get a little more game experience, we’re going to be a heck of a lot better.’
COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY AT SOUTH PLAQUEMINES (by Perry Pitre)
At Buras, Covenant coach Randy Boquet said the Lions struggled to keep up with the physical power of the Hurricanes in the controlled portion of Friday’s scrimmage, but they bounced back during the 12-minute live quarter.
After falling behind 6-0, the Lions moved the ball down the field in the final minute of the quarter and capped it with a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marquel Daigle to receiver Devante Johnson.
Covenant converted the extra point attempt to end the live quarter with a 7-6 lead.
Boquet said the Lions didn’t have any serious injuries, and he praised his team for fighting back in the live quarter.
‘We had a game winning drive in the final minute of the live quarter, and the kids were able to finish the drive and kick the extra point for the win,’ he said. ‘We’re very pleased with that aspect. I thought the kids showed a lot of heart and character to play together and get it done.’
Boquet said the late touchdown was the perfect way to cap the scrimmage, especially after being dominated physically during the early stages.
‘South Plaquemines first group lined up and punched us right in the mouth,’ Boquet said. ‘They scored several times against our first and second defense. We were barely able to get a couple of first downs offensively. We very much struggled. We talked to the kids and told them the game of football is a physical game, and you’ve got to be able to answer that.’
Boquet said Lions fullback Devyn Allen led the way with 10 carries for nearly 60 yards.
‘It was good to go out there, get some work and hit against somebody else, especially a quality program and a physical program like South Plaquemines,’ Boquet said. ‘Their athleticism is incredible. It will help us prepare for the upcoming season.’
ELLENDER ATCENTRAL CATHOLIC (by Perry Pitre)
At Morgan City on Thursday, the Eagles scored the only touchdown in the 12-minute live quarter of the scrimmage, taking a 6-0 lead.
Ellender’s second team offense scored three times in the controlled portion of the scrimmage, while the first team unit was held scoreless.
Ellender coach Terry Washington said the scrimmage was a good test for his players.
‘The twos did an outstanding job,’ Washington said. ‘We still have a lot of work with our ones. We need some work to be done on the offensive line. Overall, I was pleased with the performance. The young kids did a good job. They flew around to the football.’
Washington said Central Catholic made several big plays against Ellender’s defense, but they made some stops and forced turnovers.
‘On defense, we held them in check as far as the run game,’ Washington said. ‘We gave up a couple of big plays, and I think a couple of those catches were outstanding catches those guys made against us. We had good coverage, but they made good plays. In the run game, we stopped them pretty good, so I was very pleased with that.’
TERREBONNE AT E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC (by Chris Singleton)
You could call it a scrimmage, glorified practice or a dress rehearsal.
But for high school football teams at Terrebonne High and E.D. White Catholic, Thursday’s fall scrimmage at Yockey Bernard Field at Harvey Peltier Stadium in Thibodaux was just a good old-fashioned way to get some work in before the regular season starts in two weeks.
There were touchdowns scored, big plays and hard hits from both teams.
Terrebonne scored twice to go ahead 13-3 in the 12-minute live quarter, but in a scrimmage, it doesn’t mean anything. Both coaches said the focus is evaluating how their teams did during the entire scrimmage, which featured a controlled portion that allowed each team’s first and second offensive and defensive units to rotate series.
‘I thought we came out and handled adversity well,’ Terrebonne coach Gary Hill said. ‘We played hard. We made a lot of mistakes, but we were able to overcome and end up on top after a quarter. There’s three more quarters to play in high school football, so that don’t mean a lot right now, but it gives us a stepping stone to take. We’re going to have to get better a lot faster to continue this.’
First-year E.D. White coach Chris Bergeron said the final score of the live quarter is going to leave an impression on everyone, but he added that the purpose was to get the players in game situations before the season starts.
‘I was pleased with our competitiveness and our effort,’ Bergeron said. ‘We have some things to clean up. We had way too many penalties. A lot of the things are just kids trying to make plays, and I understand that, but we got to be smart and clean up those penalties for next week.’
In the live portion, E.D. White scored first on a 40-yard field goal from the middle of the field by Winston Jones.
Terrebonne responded when quarterback Brett Bergeron connected with receiver Devon Madison on a 55-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-3 with 3:47 remaining.
Madison said it was good to get something going in the scrimmage, especially since the Tigers have several new faces on offense.
‘It was a good moment,’ Madison said. ‘It was a good way to get something going and give us some momentum. We’ve got to be able to run and pass the ball and keep a balanced offense. Whenever we do well, we can move the ball. We’re a good team.’
E.D. White looked to score again with a minute remaining, but Terrebonne defensive back Jalen Williams stepped in front of a pass from Cardinals quarterback Ben Sposito, intercepted it, dodged a few tackles and sprinted 61 yards before diving into the end zone for a touchdown.
Hill said Williams’ defensive touchdown was a great way to end the live quarter.
‘The pick-6 was huge,’ Hill said. ‘It was a big play for our kids. It gives us some confidence and lets us know (Williams) can make plays like that, but we’re not going to sit back and enjoy it. We’ve just got to put this one behind us, look at all of our mistakes and keep building on what we did.’
The Tigers also got an interception for defensive back Jordan Quigg, an interception and fumble recovery from defensive back Trevon Gauno and several sacks and pressure from their defensive line led by Cam Clement.
Although they didn’t score a touchdown in the live quarter, E.D. White had some success in the controlled portion.
After penalties erased some big plays and scoring opportunities, the Cardinals broke loose when running back Jeremy Rounds found a hole up the middle and scampered 60 yards for a touchdown.
Rounds said taking it all the way was ‘a great feeling.’
‘It felt good to show everybody we can make big plays,’ Rounds said. ‘We played good. It’s great to get this kind of work in before the season to get ready for the games.’
Sposito moved the ball with his feet and connected on several long passes in the scrimmage, while sophomore runner Allen Taylor III scored on a short run. Defensively, the Cardinals got interceptions from with Justin Waguespack, Winston Jones and Blaize Hotard.
‘I thought we played well,’ Bergeron said. ‘Offensively, we responded to not as a successful first drive as we thought we would have. Defensively we felt good. We created turnovers and a bunch of three and outs. We felt good about where we are.’
Both coaches reported no major injuries during the scrimmage, and they let some key players rest to give some experience to younger players. E.D. White held out senior running back Darius Charles and receiver/linebacker Marcus Kliebert, while Terrebonne sat out senior linebacker Charles Clark.
PATTERSON AT ST. JAMES (by Chris Singleton)
At St. James, the Lumberjacks and Wildcats scrimmage was moved to old Wildcat Stadium after rains created wet field conditions on Patterson’s football field.
Although injuries kept starters like quarterback Lowell Narcisse, defensive tackle Jonta Jones and defensive back Mason Scott out of the scrimmage, St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said the Wildcats used it as a way to work on scheme and fundamentals, along with giving their young players a chance to play against one of Class 3A’s top teams in Patterson.
‘Patterson is a real good football team, so we knew we had our work cut out for us,’ Jenkins said. ‘We’ve been battling some injuries. We knew we had a tough task. We’ve got to see some of our younger guys step up.’
Both teams alternated series with their first and second units, which each drive starting at the 30-yard line.
Although they didn’t score a touchdown during the scrimmage, Jenkins said the offense didn’t have any turnovers, and their offensive line made plays with run blocking.
‘We had some nice drives,’ Jenkins said. ‘We were able to move the ball. We got some good looks from some of our running backs. The offensive line stepped up, and we were able to run the ball a little bit. There were a lot of positives coming out the scrimmage.’
Defensively, the Wildcats allowed only one touchdown, but Jenkins said they had a goal-line stand.
‘We did see some good things from our defense,’ Jenkins said. ‘I thought we handled the experience and the athleticism of Patterson well. They have some explosive weapons on the perimeter in receivers Mykel Jones and Daylon Charlot (an Alabama commit). Some of our young guys stepped up a little bit and played pretty good. It was more of a team effort.’
SOUTH TERREBONNE AT THIBODAUX (by Keyon Jeff)
The first units for South Terrebonne showed consistency, while the Thibodaux High starters looked flat throughout Friday’s fall scrimmage at Thibodaux High.
South Terrebonne scored twice once on offense and once on defense to go ahead 13-0 in the 12-minute live quarter.
‘I saw a lot of good things from our first units,’ South Terrebonne coach Richard Curlin said. ‘Our defense was aggressive and didn’t give up any big plays. Offensively, we were able to control the clock and drive the ball down the field.’
South Terrebonne opened the live quarter with a 12-play drive, capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Cristian Wallis around the right end to go up 6-0 with 6:47 remaining.
Thibodaux’s offense went three-and-out in less than a minute of its initial series; however, the Tigers defense made a big play on the next drive. Andy Brown recovered a South Terrebonne fumble and returned it to the Gators’ 49 yard-line.
On Thibodaux’s final drive, sophomore quarterback Tristan Pinell floated a pass that was intercepted by South Terrebonne’s Tay Martin and returned 60 yards for a touchdown. Brett Landry made the PAT make the score 13-0 with 44 seconds remaining.
‘I’m not pleased with the performance on either side of the ball,’ Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. ‘Defensively, we didn’t tackle, didn’t play hard. Offensively, we weren’t in sync at all. Now is the time to clean up the mistakes.’
The scrimmage opened with a controlled portion where each teams’ first units got 24 plays against each other, while the second units got 20 versus each other.
South Terrebonne’s first units controlled the line on both sides of the ball. The Gators offensive line opened gaping holes for Wallis and Dylan Authement to run through and allowed quarter Tyeson Verdin to complete long touchdown passes to Martin and Wallis. Meanwhile, the Gators defensive line stuffed Thibodaux’s rushing attack and recovered a pair of fumbles.
‘I’ve been saying since spring, that we had the potential to have the best defensive line since I’ve been here. That potential is still there; we just have to get in better shape,’ Curlin said. ‘We were able to throw ball some. If we continue to do that, that’s going to open up the running game for us.’
The scrimmage took a somber turn midway through the controlled period. Thibodaux defensive lineman Drake Adams broke his right leg while trying to make a tackle.
‘When you see a teammate go down like that, it’s hard. Your guys are thinking about their brother suffering in the hospital. It’s in the back of your mind the whole time,’ Dugas confessed. ‘Hopefully, we’ll get to go see him (Saturday) and lift his spirits. Hopefully, that lifts our spirits to see him getting into stronger.’
Thibodaux’s second unit offense executed more effectively in the no-huddle. Quarterbacks Trey Leblanc and Chance Hepola each threw a long touchdown pass, and Jonathan Carter had a 65-yard TD run.
In the goal line period, South Terrebonne scored twice in four plays, while Thibodaux lost seven yards in its four plays.
With two weeks before the regular season begins, South Terrebonne hopes to improve its stamina, while Thibodaux is looking for more leadership.
‘We have to get better on extra points and then conditioning,’ Curlin said. ‘We got tired. We started strong, and we kind of got tired before we came back in that live period. We got to be playing full speed the entire game.’
‘We need some better leadership from our seniors. This was a group that we were really excited about coming into this season,’ Dugas said. ‘We kind of put our heads in the sand. Nobody wanted to step up and even the score and strike back. It was a surprise to me.’
H.L. BOURGEOIS AT DUTCHTOWN
At Geismar, Braves coach Daron Franklin said they made progress offensively and defensively against a talented Dutchtown team during Friday’s scrimmage.
H.L. Bourgeois and Dutchtown competed in a scrimmage that consisted of controlled work, a live quarter and 7-on-7 drills.
In the live quarter, Dutchtown scored twice to end it with a 14-0 lead.
Franklin said it was a good night of work for the Braves.
‘I thought we made some progress against a good 5A program,’ Franklin said. ‘I wanted to schedule a scrimmage so that our guys can get some more exposure and they can use that as a measuring assessment to see where we are and where we want to be. I think we still have a long ways to go, but we’re making a lot of progress.’
Offensively, Franklin said quarterback Todd Adkins led the charge with a couple of nice passes on first downs, which put them in good situations for second downs. On defense, Franklin said the unit performed well by limiting first downs and getting to the football. He said starting strong safety Brent Ramirez and several other players had consistent performances.
Franklin said the Braves came out of the scrimmage healthy, and the focus is starting to shift towards getting better before the season starts.
‘We have to clean up some things on special teams going into the jamboree, but overall I was very pleased with our effort,’ Franklin said. ‘The young men are competing at a high level. We just want to continue to make progress every day, every play and every step to accomplish our goal of getting our first win of the season.’