The high-school football season is still nearly two months away, but that didn't stop Ascension Parish teams from competing against one another last week.
The high-school football season is still nearly two months away, but that didn’t stop Ascension Parish teams from competing against one another last week.
Five parish squads met at the Pit in St. Amant for the inaugural Ascension Parish Make-A-Play Day. This event was for both varsity and JV.
To start the day, the JV teams competed against one another in seven-on-seven competition.
Then, both JV and varsity linemen took part in a relay contest. Finally, the day ended with seven-on-seven games amongst the varsity squads.
The event was exclusively for Ascension Parish teams. The only parish school that wasn’t in attendance was Ascension Catholic. The Bulldogs were unable to make it, due to scheduling conflicts.
Gator assistant coach Dwayne Thomassee was instrumental in putting the function together. Thomassee knows all about seven-on-seven. He is the Louisiana director of the Airo 7v7 tournament that has been played in Ascension for the past three years.
“We thought it was a great chance to get the young guys involved. Almost everyone in the parish is here. We all got to play one another,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said.
One of the most unique aspects of the Make-A-Play Day was the relay competition for offensive and defensive linemen.
For the varsity units, 10 players from each team participated in the 100-yard relay. Some of the obstacles included pulling a tackling dummy, pushing a weighted sled and repeatedly flipping a large tire.
“We set up a little linemen challenge. It’s a relay event with some sled-pushing and other obstacles. I think it’s been great team-building for our offensive line,” Oliver said. “It gives our little guys a chance to cheer for our big guys some, because during the summer, everyone’s doing the passing stuff, and the linemen get left out.”
East Ascension dominated the linemen relays. The varsity linemen competed against St. Amant, Donaldsonville and Dutchtown. They won all three races.
“It was fun watching them. It’s good resistance training for them,” Spartan head coach Darnell Lee said. “The JV guys went without the weight on; we put it on for the varsity guys. We went from 10 yards in between to 20, so it was a great workout for our guys. It was a great job by Coach Thomassee to put this together.”
East Ascension, St. Amant and Dutchtown all go against one another every year, but it was something new to have them compete against parish teams such as Donaldsonville and Ascension Christian.
“I think it’s neat. I think the kids have enjoyed it,” Oliver said. “They get to see a lot of the guys they play against, and a lot of these guys played together in little league and have had a lot of conversations. So, we thought it’d be a unique deal for Ascension Parish athletes, bringing them together and giving them a chance to compete.”
The seven-on-seven play was also an important aspect for the teams—especially squads like St. Amant, Dutchtown and Donaldsonville that are breaking in new quarterbacks and many new receivers.
“It’s important that you learn your assignments, the signals and the spacing,” Oliver said. “The real important part is that if you learn it enough and practice it enough, then you don’t have to practice it as much in the fall. You can focus on the line and run game then, so you can have a complete offense.”