After the glorified practices of the jamborees last week, the 2016 high school football season gets underway this week with a few local teams playing each other, some rivalries renewed and a big-time first for New Iberia Senior High.
The Yellow Jackets open their new on-campus stadium Friday night, playing host to Breaux Bridge High.
The new stadium, two years in the making, will be the new home for the football and soccer teams at NISH. Originally scheduled to be finished by midseason in 2015, various issues pushed its finish back until.
“It’s been a distraction for me as a coach, to make sure that everything is ready for Friday night,” said NISH coach Rick Hutson. “But I don’t think it’s going to be a distraction for the kids. It’s going to be exciting to play in front of a packed house.”
Vermilion Catholic at Catholic High
The first week starts off tonight as Catholic High plays host to Vermilion Catholic. The two teams played each other last season at VC and the Eagles came away with a 35-21 win.
The Panthers crushed Hanson last week 33-6 in the inaugural Ironman Jamboree held at Teurlings Catholic.
Carencro at Westgate
Across town from NISH, Westgate will play host to Carencro for its first game of the season. The Tigers’ new stadium opened last year and WHS is still looking for its first win in its new digs.
Westgate beat NISH 6-2 in the Iberia Parish Sugar Cane Jamboree last week.
Highland Baptist at Houma Christian
The Patrick Clarkston era starts at Highland Baptist Friday as the Bears travel to Houma to face Houma Christian.
Clarkston replaced the departed Artie Liuzza over the summer as the former HBCS coach moved to Delcambre to become the offensive coordinator.
It also marks the first game for last year’s leading rusher in the state. Brontre Griffin finished last season with 3,069 yards after the playoff game, setting a new Iberia Parish record for rushing yards in a season.
Delcambre at Erath
Speaking of running backs, the Delcambre Panthers have the job of trying to stop Erath senior Elijah Mitchell. The UL-Lafayette commitment had 1,700 yards rushing last season for the Bobcats, which was in the top 10 in the state in 2015.
Delcambre beat Jeanerette 14-6 in the Sugar Cane Jamboree last week. Erath beat Abbeville 14-12 in the Vermilion Parish Jamboree as Mitchell had two long touchdown runs and two more that were called back on penalties.
Loreauville at Franklin
The Tigers will start freshman quarterback Zy Alexander against the Hornets, who are expected to have a talented defense this year. But Loreauville also has running back Shae’ahn Lee back from injury and talented running back/receiver Bryson Broussard, who threw a touchdown pass in Loreauville’s 28-14 win over Highland Baptist in the Sugar Cane Jamboree last week. Franklin tied West St. Mary 14-14 in its jamboree last week.
Jeanerette at St. Martinville
Last season, things got ugly in this game as a fight broke out between the two teams late in the contest. This season marks the second for SMSH under head coach Vince Derouen, who took the team to the postseason in his first year.
Jeanerette is looking to bounce back from an 0-10 record last season.
Beau Chene at West St. Mary
The Wolfpack, who earned a playoff spot last season, are looking to get a winning start under second-year head coach Cliff Armelin.
WSM fell to Class 4A Beau Chene on the road 23-0.
North Vermilion at Hanson
First-year head coach Dale Creamer makes his debut Friday night after taking over the team in the summer. Hanson finished the season 3-7 last year and lost to the Patriots 28-0 in the 2015 season opener.
Centerville at Grand Lake
The Bulldogs opened their first varsity football season in 2015 with a 13-12 win over Grand Lake. It was the first of three straight wins to open the season for Centerville, which finished the season with seven straight losses in District 7-A.
This season Centerville opens on the road at Grand Lake and North Central before getting their home opener in three weeks.