Sacred Heart quarterback Wesley Launey (5) breaks free from an attempted tackle by Pine Prairie’s Wyatt Welsh (6) during their game in the Evangeline Parish Jamboree held Friday night at Ville Platte High. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
VILLE PLATTE -- A jamboree definitely does not count on your overall record for the season.
However, what the jamboree can do is give coaches answers about their teams before the regular season begins.
That is what all five of the Evangeline Parish gridiron squads attempted to do here Friday night, as they participated in the parish jamboree conducted at Ville Platte High.
One of the most important questions that needed to be answered from all five teams was what could be expected on the offensive side of the ball.
Each squad came into the jamboree either tweaking their offense or completely dismantling it for a newer version. And if the glorified scrimmage that is the jamboree proved anything at all, there was a lot of work to be done by every team that stepped out onto the field.
After all the contests were completed, only 24 points were etched onto the scoreboard in 75 minutes of football action.
Despite that stat, there is a silver lining for the parish teams; playing just 30 minutes each does not give teams much time to mount any type of rhythm on that side of the ball.
Game one of the night actually produced the most points, as Basile took a 10-0 win over Sacred Heart. The Bearcats racked up a total of 130 yards on offense, while the Trojans were held to 64 yards.
Sacred Heart received the opening kickoff and began their first drive of the night at their 20-yard line after Basile’s Abdul Mlingo booted the ball into the end zone for a touchback. The Trojans did not fare well on their opening possession, picking up only five total yards, forcing them to punt the ball away.
Basile took over possession on their 48-yard line after the punt and began a 12 play drive that covered 43 yards. Logan David and Andre Reed did most of the heavy lifting, each getting three carries.
Basile reached the Sacred Heart five-yard line, but was forced to attempt a field goal after the Trojan defense held tight on a third and goal situation. Mlingo trotted into the game and split the uprights on a 22-yard field goal to give Basile a 3-0 lead.
After forcing another three and out on Sacred Heart the Bearcats once again took over the ball, this time at their 25-yard line. Facing a third and 13 at the 22-yard line, Simon Ceasar found his way around right end and raced down the side line 78 yards for a Basile touchdown. Mlingo added the extra point, and just like that, the Bearcats owned a 10-0 lead.
Sacred Heart had one last possession in the game and tried to make the most out of it. Taking over at their 20-yard line, the Trojans marched all the way down to the Basile 33-yard line in nine plays, aided by a 20 yard blast off of left tackle by Alec Gotro.
However, the drive stalled, as Sacred Heart lofted up two passes, with time running out, that fell incomplete.
Game two saw a fresh Pine Prairie Panther team utilize the feet of running back JJ Sims to subdue the Bearcats 7-0. Sims racked up 47 yards on eight carries and scored the lone touchdown of the game.
Things did not start out well for Basile, as they fumbled the opening kickoff, giving Pine Prairie the ball at the Bearcat 14-yard line. On the very first play, Sims took the ball over the right side for a 12-yard gain. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they fumbled the snap on the very next play, allowing the Bearcats to fall on the ball at the four-yard line.
Basile looked as if they were going to get things going on offense, picking up 10 yards on their very first play from scrimmage. Ten plays later, the Bearcats coughed the ball back up again after a completed pass, giving Pine Prairie the pigskin at the Basile 47-yard line.
The Panthers went back to work on offense, feeding Sims the ball and chewing up some yardage. Thirteen plays later, Sims found his way into the end zone on a six yard plunge. Landon Johnson cleared the upright for the point after and Pine Prairie owned a 7-0 lead.
Basile started the next drive at their 22-yard line, hoping to get the offense going once again. Nevertheless, the Panther defense had other ideas, forcing a three and out and taking over after a Bearcat punt.
This time, the Basile defense was not going to surrender any ground, allowing Pine Prairie and forcing the Panthers into a three and out situation.
The final drive of the game did not amount to much for the Bearcats. Basile was only able to run four total plays, as they could only reach their 30-yard line.
Game three pitted the Pine Prairie Panthers against the Sacred Heart Trojans. With the thoughts of what happened against Basile still dancing around in their head, the Trojans found another gear both offensively and defensively to take down the Panthers 7-0.
The game started with Pine Prairie owning the football at their 48-yard line. Once again, the Panthers rode the coattails of Sims, reaching the Sacred Heart 37-yard line in five plays. Things were going smooth until Pine Prairie laid the ball on the ground during the center/quarterback exchange, giving possession to the Trojans at the 35-yard line.
Sacred Heart did not learn much from the Panthers, as they turned the ball right back to the Panthers on another bad exchange on the snap.
Fortune did not smile on Pine Prairie for very long. On the second play in the drive, the Panthers threw up a pass that was stolen out of the air by Sacred Heart’s Drew Bordelon.
Not taking the take away for granted, the Trojans began to assert themselves on the offensive side of the ball. Starting from their 15-yard line, Sacred Heart found creases in the Panther defensive unit and initiated a drive that would chew up most of the clock and lasted 16 plays.
Sophomore Noah Soileau capped off the possession by blowing his way in to the end zone from five yards out. Wesley Launey tacked on the extra point, giving Sacred Heart a 7-0 lead.
Trailing, the Panthers could not get things going on their next possession. The Trojan defense stepped up the intensity, holding Pine Prairie to only one yard, forcing a punt after only three plays. From there Sacred Heart ran out the clock to seal the win.
In the nightcap, the Mamou Demons squared off against the Ville Platte Bulldogs in a 30 minute contest. Sloppiness was the prevailing theme in this contest, as the two teams combined for 10 penalties and three turnovers in a 0-0 tie.
Ville Platte received the opening kick off and found themselves in the hole after the first play from scrimmage. A holding call on the Bulldogs put them in a first and 26 situation at their 20-yard line.
Nevertheless, Ville Platte found a way to dig out of that hole when quarterback Brandon Veazie hit a streaking Ernest Roberts on a 48 yard go route, taking the ball inside of Mamou territory. Regrettably, the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize, as the next three plays netted zero yards, forcing them to punt.
Running their first offensive series of the night, Mamou put together some impressive runs to sneak into Ville Platte territory. Facing a third down and 17 from the Bulldog 34-yard line, the Demons tried two passes that were both knocked away by the Ville Platte secondary.
After the Bulldogs were forced to punt the ball away on their next possession, Mamou took over on their 37-yard line. Three plays later, a botched snap on the punt attempt allowed Ville Platte to take control of the ball on the Demon 23-yard line with a little over a minute left to play before half.
Advancing the ball only three yards on three plays, the Bulldogs tried a desperation pass into the end zone with no time left on the clock. Unfortunately, that pass fell to the ground keeping the game scoreless as the two teams headed into halftime.
The second half was not much better for either team. Mamou’s first possession ended on a fumbled snap at the Ville Platte 30-yard line, after the Demons drove 35 yards in six plays.
The Bulldogs looked as if they might put the ball in for some points on their first drive after the half. On the very first play after the fumble recovery, Kevontrae Ardoin took a sweep over the left side and sprinted for a 20 yard gain. A 15-yard penalty was tacked on when Mamou was flagged for a late hit.
With the ball now at the Demon 36-yard line, the Bulldogs reached the Mamou five in four plays, aided by a 39 yard pitch and catch from Veazie to Tyler Jones. But, once again the turnover bug bit Ville Platte in the rear end, as a fumble by Veazie gave Mamou the ball at their eight-yard line.
The Demons were able to work their way out of the shadow of their goal line and get the ball up to the 33-yard line. However, penalties forced Mamou to punt the ball away again.
Ville Platte’s final drive of the night produced 11 total yards, but was killed by yet another fumbled snap.
Amazingly, the Demons also found a way to stop the final drive of the entire contest with a second fumbled snap of the game.