“It’s go time” is a phrase coaches use to motivate players right before a game. Red Stick Bowl XVII coaches Darnell Lee and Daniel Luquet may opt for a slightly different rallying cry — it’s show time. “I want to see all the guys have fun and come out healthy,” said East Ascension’s Lee, the head coach for the Eagles. “And I want to see them compete. I really do believe there are chances for guys who do not have college offers to get a chance to play on the next level. I’ve called a few college coaches myself this week. These guys can play.”
About 90 players from area schools are set to complete the all-star football game that features players from throughout the Baton Rouge area. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Olympia Stadium. “There is not a whole lot of coaching you can do in four days,” Woodlawn’s Luquet, the Patriots’ coach said. “This is a chance for these guys to show what they can do. I want to see exciting plays and offense and defense. I want to sit back and watch and enjoy … almost like a spectator. I’ve got a great group of guys coaching with me and a great group of players … this is the show.” Luquet’s Patriots did lose one offensive weapon when Denham Springs wide receiver DJ Williams suffered a broken collarbone as he dove to a catch a pass in Wednesday’s practice.
DSHS running back Treveon Muse and Lutcher’s Rondell Mealey Jr. are both 1,000-yard rushers on the Patriots squad. Live Oak’s Sal Palermo, Lutcher’s Kolby Bourgeois and Cameron Armstead are the Patriots quarterbacks. Jason Wakefield of East Ascension and Adam Blanchard of St. John are the quarterbacks for Eagles. Jamar Barber of Ascension Catholic leads the group of running backs for the Eagles.
Six players who played in last weekend’s Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic championships are split between the teams. Red Stick Bowl rules prohibit blitzing or hitting a quarterback on a roll out unless he steps up to run the ball. The NFL rule that requires the receiving team to put eight players within 15 yards of kickoffs and prohibits hitting in that 15-yard zone will be used along with the NFHS’ targeting rule. “The big thing I saw all week was the pride these guys have in their schools,” Lee said. Luquet added, “It’s feels like you’re coaching the Pro Bowl with all the different helmets out there. It is nice.”