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Coaches say skill level, enthusiasm both on a high level for Saturday's Red Stick Bowl

The venue was different, but that did not alter the enthusiasm as the Patriots and Eagles converged on Woodlawn High School for their second day of practice for Red Stick Bowl XVII. “This is more fun than I expected it to be,” Patriots coach Daniel Luquet of Woodlawn said. “I have high regard for all the coaches who have kids out here and there are a lot of quality kids here. You hear a lot of ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir.’ And then there is the talent. ... We are coaching guys who are going to get a chance to play on Saturdays.”

The annual all-star football game featuring players from throughout the Baton Rouge area is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Olympia Stadium. Practices will be held at Woodlawn through Thursday. The teams practiced Monday at the Burbank Soccer Complex.

The two 45-member teams practiced on adjacent fields Tuesday. There were drills for offense, defense and special teams. Both coaches were already beginning to devise rotations and lineup, particularly on special teams.

Eagles coach Darnell Lee of East Ascension was also pleased with his team. “Sometimes when you meet a group of kids from different schools like this there is a bit of nervousness,” Lee said. “But not with this group. They just jumped right in and have worked together from the time we started passing out equipment Sunday night. These kids want to be here and they are having fun with it.” Lee has also had some fun too. “I like to tease the guys we played against this year. I’ll make a play call and then I’ll say, ‘Isn’t that the play we got you guys on?’ It is all in fun.”

The East Ascension coach also is equally impressed with the talent level. He pointed to Plaquemine High linebacker Herman Christophe as just one example of a player who has adapted quickly to a role that will include some responsibilities a safety normally has. “It is not just the guys from the 5A and 4A schools,” Lee said. “There are guys here small schools and big schools and they can all play. I enjoy watching them and coaching them.”

Practice notes

Slaughter's Baker played in the 2007 Red Stick Bowl after completing his senior season at Zachary. This week two of his players, defensive backs Da'Marco Goss and DaMinquin Minor, are playing on the Patriots' squad he is helping coach. East Ascension's Lee played for one of the Red Stick Bowl organizers, Barrett Murphy, at EAHS.

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