Varnado hosting 4-team jamboree Thursday

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Varnado is the site for a football jamboree tomorrow, as four teams take the field in front of their fans and make final preparations for next week’s season opener.

“We’re excited about having a jamboree coming to our school,” VHS coach Scott Shaffett said. “It’s a neat experience to have three other schools to come to our town. It’s great for the community.”

The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with Pine taking on East Feliciana, followed by Varnado facing Northlake Christian School.

The games will consist of a pair of 12-minute halves with 30 minutes between games.

The first contest features two teams that are coming off of Class 2A playoff seasons.

Pine finished with a 4-6 regular season record and reached the postseason as the 23rd seed and nearly pulled off the upset against 10th seeded Rosepine, but fell 51-50 in the bi-district round.

East Feliciana posted a 5-4 record and made the regional round of postseason as the No. 9 seed before falling to eighth seeded Oak Grove 28-14.

Pine coach Bradley Seal said East Feliciana will be a good test for his club.

“We’re playing a team that won a playoff game last year,” Seal said. “They have a good offensive and defensive line with two good linebackers.”

Seal said they won’t do much game planning. He said the teams talked about what they do offensively, but said most of his team’s focus will be on what his team does.

He said they the main things he wants to see are no injuries and he said he wants his team to keep turnovers and penalties to a minimum.

This season, Pine was unable to set up a scrimmage. Seal said they called several schools, but were unable to get one lined up. He said that one of the big things is that the Raiders running backs and receivers haven’t been in full contact when going against somebody live.

“That’ll be a key to the game,” Seal said. “We’ll also get to see the speed of the game because it’s a lot faster than it is in practice.”

The second game is also a match up of two playoff teams from last season. Varnado went 2-8 in the 2013 regular season and made the playoffs as the No. 16 seed, but lost to 17th seeded Arcadia 35-20.

Northlake Christian reached the postseason as the third seeded team in Division III, but suffered a 60-26 setback to Catholic of New Iberia in the regional round of the postseason after going undefeated in the regular season at 10-0.

These teams met last season in the Pine Jamboree and Northlake Christian won 20-6.

Varnado coach Shaffett talked about things he’s looking for in the jamboree.

“We want to make sure people are in the right place and that our backups are in the ready to go,” Shaffett said. “We’re also looking at special teams because this will be the first time we’ve had special teams in live action. We’re also going to find out who will step up and make big plays for us.”

Shaffett said there would be some game planning, but like Seal, he’s more focused on what they do.

“We won’t get into much game planning until next week when we play Dexter,” Shaffett said.

After the jamboree, the teams will look forward to their regular season openers, which occur next Friday.

Both teams are at home. Pine is going against Pearl River, while Varnado is taking on Dexter out of Mississippi.