As Kaplan head coach Stephen Lotief put it, “We’re still working on ourselves.”
And that’s what scrimmages and jamborees are for. You get to see how you compete on the field versus someone other than yourself.
The regular season, however, is two weeks away, and local schools will take to the field... some of them against each other.
Two season openers, in fact, will see area rivalries re-ignited.
Kicking off the year with a patriotic-sounding rivalry, the North Vermilion Patriots will line up against the Vermilion Catholic Eagles. North Vermilion is looking to turn things around after a 25-7 loss to Vermilion Catholic last season.
The second of those rivalries is a fierce cat- fight between the Delcambre Panthers and the Erath Bobcats. Last year, Erath came out on top 31-14.
Delcambre and Gueydan will face the fewest area opponents, each having one game against another local team. Erath will take on all other local teams except Gueydan.
Four of the local teams reside in the same district, hence a lot of the in-parish match-ups we see year in and year out.
Abbeville, Kaplan, North Vermilion and Erath are guaranteed to meet on the field every year.
In the 2011 season, Erath went 2-3 against local schools, 1-2 against those district opponents. The Bobcats defeated Delcambre, then knocked off the Abbeville Wildcats in a close 16-12 victory. The three losses were dealt by Vermilion Catholic (56-28), North Vermilion (27-14) and Kaplan (35-6).
North Vermilion was 2-2 versus parish opponents, the two wins and one of the losses coming from local district rivals.
They beat Erath and then took out Abbeville, 35-13. Those local losses were to Kaplan, who scraped by 12-7, and non-district opponent, Vermilion Catholic.
Abbeville only played three parish teams, all district opponents, and lost all three, including a loss to Kaplan, 41-20.
The story was the exact opposite for Kaplan, who won all three of their local district games.
Gueydan and Vermilion Catholic went head to head last year, with the Eagles winning 41-6, bringing them 3-0 over local opponents as well.
The teams are still trying to find themselves in the pre-season. Filling holes left by seniors who graduated and raising younger players to be ready to take the field are first and foremost in the training each team has underway.
Players are working on speed and strength. Learning to run and catch. Going over the basics of the game before August 31.
Some of the local schools also have some staffing changes. Erath and Vermilion Catholic have installed new leadership in the head coach positions. It’s not yet clear what Erath’s Doug Dotson and Vermilion Catholic’s Russel Kuhns have in store when they go up against local veterans like Kaplan’s Lotief, North Vermilion’s Tommy Byler or Delcambre’s Darcy Delcambre.
There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time. In just two weeks, the season starts.