This past Friday, myself and Nick Mautone made the drive to Newman High School to cover the Newman jamboree. The jamboree in New Orleans featured a double header with four exciting teams in South Louisiana.
Game 1: St. James Defeats De La Salle 6-0
Both defenses were fast and athletic as both quarterbacks were constantly pressured throughout the contest. In fact, the low scoring contest came down to a goal line stand as Wildcats defensive back Za’Quan Acklin tackled De La Salle wide receiver Ronald Cash just short of the goal line on the final play of the jamboree to preserve the 6-0 win. St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis was sweating it out and it was not just the heat that was making him do that.
“We literally sweat it out with the temperature and everything. We just played fast. We lined up and didn’t get beat by alignment. We did bend but didn’t break.”
“Overall, as a defensive unit, Nicholas Chopin stood out at defensive end and he was able to create pressure with DeAndre Videau. Overall, we played well on defense and obviously, we kept them out of the end zone.”St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis
With both opposing offenses having trouble putting the ball in the end zone, it was Wildcats quarterback Brayden Williams that extended plays with his legs and constantly made plays including finding Trenton Ester for the only touchdown of the contest. The senior quarterback finished the contest completing seven of ten passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
“Our trigger man did well for us tonight. He kept plays alive with his feet and made a crucial throw for us on third down to Jakias Villanueva. We got to clean some things up on the offensive line that is going to help us be able to run the football and help create play action off of that. Kobe Brown is Kobe Brown. Brayden Williams is Brayden Williams.”St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis
The defenses played well, but both offenses made some plays. The third down that Davis referred was a great scramble by Williams in which he lost the fumble, picked it up, and was still able to keep his eyes downfield to Villanueva. Kobe Brown was the leading receiver with four catches for 70 yards.
Despite the loss, the De La Salle offense showed some flashes as their quarterback Evan Arceneaux completed passes to five different receivers including Ronald Cash, Jace Bienemy, Brandt Haynes, Jason Banks, and Jacques Brignac. Playing against De La Salle provided to be a good measuring stick for the Wildcats.
“I think we held our own, but we did some quality things. I was excited to find this opponent because I know that De La Salle is a physical team and we will see teams like that further along in the playoffs. It is a good test for us early on.”St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis
Even though the Wildcats got the win, Coach Davis says that there is still plenty to work on and with this game being a jamboree, it doesn’t count so the records will still be at 0-0 when the regular season starts this week.
“It’s early on in the season. Obviously, there are some things that we need to clean up. We will watch the film and get a full evaluation. We will dot our I’s and cross our T’s from there. This game doesn’t count. We will play for keeps next week against our opponent so we have to build off this performance.”St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis
After being the interim head coach last year, Davis is now the full-time head coach and is ready to put his entire stamp on the program.
“I have always been inside the program. I had to take over a quality guy in Coach Robert Valdez. He was always a guy that I worked with and never worked for. We are always going to be doing things with character and integrity. We are going to play the game the right way and that is with discipline and structure. That’s what we try to instill in these guys when trying to win games the right way.”St. James Head Coach LaVanta Davis
The St. James Wildcats will start their season tomorrow against East St. John while the De La Salle Cavaliers will kickoff their season on the road against Central tomorrow.
Game 2: Newman Defeats St. Martin’s 28-14
The Newman offense started the post Arch Manning era last Friday against St. Martin’s Episcopal, but the offense still looked as explosive as ever for the Greenies with new Class of 2025 quarterback Eli Friend. The first year starting quarterback looked like a veteran as he led the Greenies to four touchdown drives. Statistically, he started out the game completing four of five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. He also added 49 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well.
“I’ve coached him since when he was in Pre-K. He’s fast, strong, got a really good arm, and he is a competitor. He’s a Tebow type player. He has great command and doesn’t care about stats. Everything is under the radar for him. Arch did things that not a lot of people can do. Arch was a great mentor to Eli, but Eli is his own person. We look a little different. We are trying to do our strengths, but he is a great quarterback and a great dual threat. In our division, you got to be able to run the football and play good defense before you can throw it. I believe it. We are sticking with that, and we will see how far it will get us.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
No pun intended, Friend will have buddies that will help take the pressure off of him including South Alabama commit Will Loerzel, who caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Friend. The 6’5, 245 pound tight end is a big and athletic target. After having Texas Longhorns tight end Will Randle the last couple of seasons, the Greenies are starting to produce more DI tight ends with the first name Will.
“It’s crazy. I have been doing it as a head coach for 18 years and I couldn’t find a tight end forever. Now, I get these two. I was there the day Will was born. His mother Colleen is a co-worker of mine and I am best friends with Jason Loerzel. It does help when his parents were Division I athletes. Jason was a linebacker at Purdue and Colleen was a middle hitter there. Great genetics and it is all coming together for him. He has been our MVP this summer. Will is pretty special.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
The Greenies have a special tight end and they have a special offensive lineman leading the way in Brett Bordelon. The 6’6, 290 pound junior left tackle and LSU commit is a Tigers legacy as his dad Ben Bordelon was a former offensive lineman and his older brother Bo is currently an LSU offensive lineman on this year’s team. Having a four-star prospect and one of the top offensive linemen in the country lead the way is fun to watch for Stewart.
“I don’t know how long the good Lord will let me coach, but I don’t think I am ever going to coach another kid like Brett Bordelon. He’s fast, has power, plays incredibly hard, and we really build the running game around him. I think you build to your strengths.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
Known for great quarterback play and putting up big offensive numbers in the passing game, it is clear that the Greenies are still capable of doing that, but they will rely a lot more on the running game with Friend and Will Randle’s brother Jake Randle leading the way. The sophomore running back had a great coming out party as he ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns including the game clincher late in the jamboree.
On the other side, St. Martin’s Episcopal has one of the top running backs in the country in Harlem Berry. The 5’11, 175 pound explosive running back has rushed for 67 touchdowns and 4,723 yards. The scariest thing is that the five star 2025 running back still has two more years of eligibility. For the most part, the Greenies defense held the Saints’ playmaker to check with 61 yards rushing in the jamboree, but he still ended up with two touchdown runs in the game.
“Harlem is as good as advertised. Their quarterback is a good athlete as well. He definitely fits the billing and it is easier for me to say because I don’t have to tackle him.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
The rushing duo of Berry and quarterback Ashton Oliver was a good 1-2 punch in the backfield as both players combined for over 100 yards on the ground. Although the Greenies did a good job of slowing down their explosive running game, Coach Stewart was not happy with the penalties that the Greenies suffered on that side of the football, especially the unnecessary after the play penalties.
“I was disappointed, but it was chippy on both sides. You learn from those experiences and when you get in an emotional setting, those are teachable moments. I thought we ran to the ball well. I thought we wrapped up and got to the quarterback. We lost contain a little bit because the biggest thing that Harlem can bring is that he can redirect. It was a good start.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
Although the Saints did not get a win, they will be a factor in their division under head coach Kevin Dizer as they will have one of the best rushing attacks in their division. The Saints will start the season tomorrow against Benjamin Franklin.
Meanwhile, the Greenies will start their season tomorrow against a good Class 5A Hahnville team. Coach Stewart and his guys will have tough challenges before district play in facing the likes of Riverside Academy, Benton, Many, St. Mary, Belle Chasse, and De La Salle.
“You got to play fast and efficient, but you got to be poised. We are playing a hellacious schedule. We embrace that. It’s going to be a rollercoaster when you play Hahnville and Many and Benton and Riverside. You are going to have to have poise. You can’t have those emotional rollercoaster swings. Jamborees are great, but you don’t remember who you beat in the jamborees. The game doesn’t count, but it’s a good start, and that’s the biggest thing. We will watch the film and see what we can do.”Newman Head Coach Nelson Stewart
Check out Jace’s game recaps as from high school scrimmages to the Superdome, Jace will go and cover at least one game a week. Check out our other game recaps below!
Jamboree Week: Battle on the Ridge