Compared to his teammates, Silliman Institute’s Ben LeJeune is an all-star veteran. He played on the winning team in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools all-star game two weeks ago in Jackson, Mississippi. But playing for the Patriots in Red Stick Bowl XVII is a whole new ballgame for LeJeune in more ways than one. “I’m talking to some colleges and I’ll play defensive back in college,” LeJeune said. “I played cornerback in the other (MAIS) game. But here, I’m a running back. It is different and I look forward to it.”
Players for the Patriots and the Eagles had a final walk-through practice at Woodlawn on Thursday. Red Stick Bowl XVII is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Olympia Stadium.
“It has been cool,” LeJeune said. “The MAIS has good players and guys committed to colleges. There is so much competition at different positions here. I’m impressed with the quickness and speed. It took me a couple of days to adjust. (Wednesday) I started to feel more comfortable.”
LeJeune said the first day of practice was a little tough because he didn't know the players or what schools some of them played for. The lone exception was the group of Zachary players. LeJeune said he played youth football in Zachary before his family moved closer to Clinton-based Silliman. Most players have helmets that featured decals for their school. LeJeune’s helmet has a collection of decals from other MAIS schools. “With bowl games you have to learn a new set of plays,” LeJeune said. “I’ve had to learn two sets, but it has been good. Even though I’m being recruited as a defensive back, I like being a running back one more time. Best of both worlds.”
Beginning and end
Central linebacker Drew Lassiegne was selected as a captain for Eagles and is ready to make the best of his final football game. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Lassiegne is scheduled to sign a baseball scholarship with LSU Eunice at 1 p.m. Friday at the school. “I can’t wait to sign (Friday). Getting the chance to play college baseball is the thing I have always wanted,” Lassiegne said. “When I played my last football game for Central I was sad. I had no idea I would get one more chance to play. The game Saturday is a good thing and I can’t wait to play.”
DSHS’ Williams sidelined
Denham Springs wide receiver DJ Williams of the Patriots suffered a broken collarbone near the end of Wednesday’s practice. The Southeastern Louisiana commitment was diving to catch a pass when the injury happened, Patriots’ coach Daniel Luquet of Woodlawn said. Red Stick organizers said it was only the second time in the 17-year history of the local all-star game that a significant injury has occurred. The injury will sideline Williams for part of the DSHS basketball season.
“DJ getting injured is disappointing for all the coaches,” Luquet said. “We want these guys to play in this game and then go play basketball the next day.”