Jamboree last chance before games count

Peter Silas Pasqua

The preseason comes down to this - one final chance for Ascension Parish teams to fix any holes before the games count Sept. 5.

The 10th Annual M. Paul LeBlanc Memorial Jamboree returns Thursday with a new twist. Rather than Spartan Stadium being the sole host, the new Ascension/Livingston Challenge sponsored by LeBlanc's Food Stores includes Denham Springs as caretaker for Friday night’s events.

Host East Ascension and Live Oak kick things started Thursday in Gonzales at 6 p.m. Donaldsonville and Albany follow approximately 30 minutes later. Each game will consist of two 15-minute halves.

“I think it is a great opportunity for two parishes right next to each other to get a chance to go against each other,” East Ascension head coach John Lambert said. “Over a two-night period if you choose to go to both, you are going to get the opportunity to see almost every team in Ascension and Livingston. If you are not sure where the talent  level is, in two nights you will have a good opportunity to see that.”

Dutchtown will face host Denham Springs Friday at 6 p.m. followed by St. Amant and Walker approximately 30 minutes after.

In the opener, East Ascension will have a complete new offensive backfield with quarterback Adam Trahan and running backs Marcus Bailey, Avery Williams and Justin Pelle.

“On the offense side, we have to be prepared for what they call a 3-3 stack defense,” Lambert said. “It is a blitzing defense. They are coming at you all the time. Live Oak is not particularly big but they make up for it with the blitz. That is what we have to be prepared for. Somebody from Live Oak coming at us from some direction all the time.”

The Spartans return seven starters on defense led by primary leaders. tackle Wade Julien, linebacker Tre` Griggs and safety Matt Richard.

“Live Oak runs a version of the veer offense, so that is assignment football,” Lambert said. “Coach Jason Brown will spend a lot of time this week making sure guys get to where they need to get to and take care of their assignments.”

Dutchtown returns its top leading rushers in Eddie Lacy and Kelvin York along with quarterback Wesley Perkins. However, the Griffins must replace eight starters on the defensive side of the ball.

“It is going to be a regular game,” Saia said. “This is the first time it has been over there. There field is going to be 100 yards just like ours is. It isn’t a big deal. Just get on the bus and  go play.”

St. Amant will look to go to an option attack in its first-year under David Oliver and the Gators will rely on sophomores Matt Marrero and Jaylin LeBlanc to narrate the offense. The Gators do return fullback Adrian Bourgeois and wide receiver Anthony Bonadona on offense, while linebacker Zach Whittington and defensive backs, Wayne Douglas, Shannon Lucas and P.J. Brown return on defense.

Donaldsonville returns its second leading rusher in fullback Bryant Dunn. Quarterback Laine Bailey takes over for McNeese State signee Roy Sam. The Tigers’ defense is led by linebackers Aikee Turner and Jeremy Dunn.