For the past two years, the Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree opted to expand to 22 teams competing over two days at three sites.
Once the final second of the final game of the 2015 football jamboree elapsed, the Kiwanis Club began putting plans into motion to reduce the number of teams and play at one venue.
In short, it would revert to the good, old days when Kiwanis Jamboree chairman Vance Lanier played in his first such event, recalling the excitement of taking the field at Louisiana-Lafayette’s Cajun Field.
It’s the same sensation the Lafayette Kiwanis Club wants for all 12 of the teams participating in the 65th annual jamboree, which is set for Aug. 25-26 at Cajun Field.
“We were excited to go into a college stadium and play football,” Lanier said. “As much as it’s for the crowd, it’s (for) the participants.”
This year’s renewal will focus on schools from Lafayette Parish and neighboring St. Martin Parish along with an entry from Acadia and Jeff Davis parishes.
“We’ve tried to do the split thing, and appeasing everyone has been tough on us,” Lanier said of matching select and nonselect schools the past two years. “For whatever reason, it really didn’t seem to work and everybody wanted to be back at Cajun Field. I think most of the local teams that play in this like the matchups.”
Nine of the 12 teams participated in postseason play a year ago, with Notre Dame of Crowley completing a 14-0 season with a Division III state championship.
St. Thomas More enjoyed its finest season in school history with a 10-3 record that included the program’s first trip to the Superdome Classic. The Cougars fell to Parkview Baptist in the Division II state title game.
Northside and St. Martinville meet in the Thursday, Aug. 25 opener at 6 p.m., followed by matchups featuring Cecilia-Carencro and Notre Dame-Lafayette High.
The second day of competition matches Breaux Bridge and Jennings at 6 p.m. along with STM against Comeaux and Teurlings Catholic playing Acadiana.
Teams will play two, 12-minute halves.
“That’s good football,” Lanier said. “That’s as good as it gets in the area. These guys get a test right off the bat. This is, by far, one of the most competitive jamborees in the state. You look at the overall competiveness, there’s not a weak game there. I’ll enjoy watching every one of these games.”
There will be some additional story lines coming out of the jamboree with four schools featuring first-year coaches: Anthony Hicks at Northside, Rob Poole at Lafayette, Terry Martin at Breaux Bridge and Dennis Skains at Cecilia.
Moreover, second-year St. Martinville coach Vincent Derouen was the winningest coach in Northside history, a mark that included the school’s only trip to the Class 4A state championship game in 2004.
The jamboree will also have its share of star power with five-star defensive tackle and LSU commitment Tyler Shelvin of Notre Dame leading the way. Running back Travis Etienne of Jennings has a three-star rating and is the nation’s No. 32 running back by 247 Sports. Etienne committed to Texas A&M on Saturday.
“For a lot of the clubs, this is a measuring stick,” Lanier said. “They look forward to it. The kids also look forward to playing in Cajun Field. We’re lucky enough to have a facility like that to use.”
Opelousas Kiwanis Jamboree
Jamboree chairman Dirk Boudreaux said this year’s 50th Annual John S. Bradley Memorial Jamboree is scheduled for Aug. 25 at Donald Gardner Stadium in Opelousas.
LaGrange will face Northwest at 6:30 p.m. That game will be followed by Opelousas Catholic and Westminster Christian Academy.
Games will consist of a pair of 12-minute halves.
Catholic-New Iberia sponsoring jamboree
With a reduction in teams from the Lafayette Kiwanis Jamboree, a new event has been spawned.
Catholic High of New Iberia will sponsor a six-team jamboree Aug. 25 at Teurlings Catholic beginning at 6 p.m.
District 7-1A foes Vermilion Catholic and Central Catholic of Morgan City meet in the jamboree’s first game, with fellow 7-1A teams Lafayette Christian facing Ascension Episcopal next. Catholic-New Iberia will play Hanson Memorial to close out the night.
Teams will play two 12-minute halves.