CROWLEY – For prep football teams, Thursday and Friday present dress rehearsals before the big dance.
That’s when teams from across the state officially kickoff the 2009 football season with the annual jamborees.
Rayne High will host the opening night of the Acadia/Vermilion Jamboree Thursday with two games on tap. Church Point is slated to take on Erath at 6:30 p.m. and Rayne will play Kaplan at 8 o’clock.
The jamboree will also be televised by Cox 4.
“It’s good because it’s at home and it’s on TV,” said Rayne coach Curt Ware. “Anytime you know that you’re going to be on television, you want to do well. The kids are pretty excited.”
Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux, whose team played three televised games last season, agrees with Ware.
“It’s an opportunity to for our kids to see themselves on TV and it kind of highlights our program and what we’re trying to do here,” said Arceneaux. “There are people in the Lafayette area who don’t really know much about Church Point. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase what we’re building here so that’s always a good thing.”
However, both coaches also agree that even though the jamboree contests are exciting for everyone involved, it’s still just a jamboree.
“It’s basically a practice game,” said Ware. “We are going to line and run our basic offense and defense. I think both teams will be a lot more vanilla than we will be when it really counts.”
Rayne’s jamboree contest against Kaplan will be a preview of what’s to come in Week 6 when the two teams square off at the Pirates’ home stadium for their District 5-AAA opener.
“Thursday, we just want to eliminate the mental mistakes, take care of the ball and come out injury free,” said Ware. “Next week’s season opener is what really counts. I don’t put a lot of emphasis on winning the jamboree. We just want to get better and come out of it healthy.”
For Arceneaux and his Bears, the game-plan is basically the same.
“It is an exciting time for us but we try to keep in perspective that the jamboree is nothing more than a glorified practice,” said Arceneaux. “It’s just one more opportunity for us to try and improve before the games really mean something and really count.
“We went into last year’s jamboree and Kaplan kind of kicked us around. But we went in just trying to work on our base package and trying to get better and we ended up having the best season we ever had. Take what you want from that but the jamboree is nothing more than another practice.”
The second half of the Acadia/Vermilion Jamboree will take place at North Vermilion High School Friday evening with three games on tap.
In the opener, North Vermilion’s junior varsity will play Gueydan at 5:30 p.m. before Iota and Abbeville square off at 7 o’clock. North Vermilion will take the field at 8:30 against Crowley.
Notre Dame will also be in action Friday when they participate in the Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree at UL-Lafayette’s Cajun Field. The Pios will play the third and final game of the evening, taking on Cecilia at 8:30 p.m.