Warren Arceneaux column: A look back at last week’s jamborees

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

It’s dangerous to try to read too much into results from the season-opening jamborees, but it’s also fun and hard to avoid, so let’s take a look at which schools came out of the dress rehearsal with things they hope will become a trend as the season goes on.

At Barbe, the Bucs displayed a second big-play threat in sophomore running back Eric Jones, who showed a lot of burst on touchdown runs of 24 and 78 yards in the Bucs win over DeRidder. The Barbe offense hardly sputtered last year, averaging 32.2 points per game, but defenses had enough to worry about trying to keep Jamaal Levi (who scored on a 70-yard touchdown reception on the game’s first play and also returned a punt 35 yards) in check. If Jones emerges as another big play threat, it will be hard on opposing defenses to commit extra resources to slowing Levi without risking giving Jones room to run.

Other good signs for the Bucs was production from non-Levi receivers (Reed Boyd, Landon Victorian and Kenneth Golla), a shutout performance from the defense that allowed 35 points per game last season and a mistake-free performance by quarterback Will McClain.

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The Westlake defense also pitched a shutout in a 7-0 win over local rival Sam Houston. The Rams defensive front smothered the Broncos running game and forced a turnover on the Broncos’ only chance to score after they reached the Westlake 30-yard line.

Westlake’s offense didn’t do much after returning star running back Brandon Jupiter ran 88 yards for a touchdown on their first-play from scrimmage, but the Rams are in a position where they have time to let new starting quarterback Kevin Rideau grow into the job with a dominant defense capable of carrying the team to wins early in the season.

With standouts on each level in defensive lineman Ja’Qualon Pettiway, linebacker Ethan Koonce and defensive back Kristian Ozane, the Rams are a tough group to sustain long drives against. A Week 2 game against a veteran and explosive Welsh offense will be a good early season test for the Rams.

Before that, the Rams will travel to DeQuincy this week. The Tigers’ veer machine was in good form to open the season as DeQuincy beat  LaGrange by running the ball 37 times in 38 plays from scrimmage. Quarterback Reese Ashworth returns to lead the Tiger offense and scored two touchdowns. The Tigers lost both starters at running back to graduation and are using a committee approach to replacing them, with five carriers gaining more than 50 yards each Friday night. Finding a couple of consistent performers there will help the Tigers contend in District 5-2A.

St. Louis didn’t get a win against Sulphur, but made things interesting in a 10-7 loss which featured four St. Louis turnovers. Holding a 5A team to 10 points under those circumstances is a nice accomplishment for a Saints defense that features a strong front.

The Saints offense was able to move the ball, with one of the turnovers occurring in the red zone. Cleaning up the mistakes and putting some points on the board to help a stout defense could make the Saints a contender in what looks to be a rugged District 4-3A race with Lake Charles College Prep, Iowa and Westlake all looking like quality teams this season.

The Yellow Jackets defense pitched a shutout and the offense produced big plays in the running and passing games as Iowa beat South Beauregard 20-0. New starting quarterback Cole Corbello tossed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Kyndon Brass for the first Yellow Jackets score, With the loss of star receiver Curtis Deville, finding big-play threats in the passing game will help create more running room for standout running back Ronald Young, who added a 68-yard touchdown run for Jackets.


Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at Warren.arceneaux@americanpress.com