Jamboree preview

Port Allen head football coach Don Gibson, seen here with his team after last week’s 25-0 scrimmage win over Loranger, said his team faces a huge challenge against St. James, which has regained the dominance it had as a state power 10 years ago. 

The Port Allen Pelicans begin their 2019 season in a different setting, but the opponent is no stranger to the program

PAHS travels Thursday to St. James for the St. James Parish Scrimmage, where the Pelicans will face the St. James Wildcats, a former district rival from the 1990s and early 2000s.

The jamboree begins at 6 p.m.

For the Pelicans, the jamboree is the last chance to sharpen their game skills before the regular season opener Sept. 6 against archrival Brusly. 

PAHS comes into the game with a burst of momentum after a 25-0 rout over Loranger last week. The Pelicans dominated the Wolves, who had struggled last season, but a much tougher challenge could await the Pelicans at St. James.

“It’s natural to use a big showing like we had last week as a springboard to the next opponent, but St. James is one of the toughest teams in the state and perhaps one of the toughest we will face all season,” coach Don Gibson said. “We’re going to need to stay focused on this game, not look back on the last one and not look ahead to the following week.

“St. James is a great program and we can’t afford to let our guard down against those guys,” he said. “It should be a great test to how we will deal with tough opposition throughout the season.” 

The Wildcats enter the 2019 rigors after a 7-5 run that ended in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs last season. The program was one of the most dominant in the state for more than a decade during the days of Rick Gaille, who died two years ago. 

Coach Robert Valdez may have the personnel to bring the program back to its glory days. 

Senior quarterback Shamar Smith, one of the fastest quarterbacks in the state, will anchor an offense that also includes All-District wide receiver Dontez Sterling and running back Devonne White.

Leaders on the other side of the ball include junior defensive end De’Andre Keller (6-1, 271) and senior tackle Donald Nelson (6-4, 280).


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