LAFAYETTE — Coaches from the select schools division of the prep football playoffs in the area did their best to convince the other coaches why their team should be overlooked this season at the annual Kiwanis Club Crying Towel Luncheon at the Petroleum Club on Tuesday.
Ten area schools were represented by football coaches at the luncheon, each taking a few minutes at the lectern to crack self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek jokes about their teams.
“I’m sure everybody had a senior starting lineman going to Boys Scouts camp for a week, to a math camp for two week, or had to share their weight room with the music department,” said Ascension Episcopal coach Mike Desormeaux as the room erupted in laughter. “Wait, that doesn’t happen everywhere?”
The luncheon is held every year roughly a week before the Kiwanis Club exhibition jamborees. This year’s jamboree games will be next Thursday and Friday at St. Thomas More, Cajun Field and Clark Field.
Central Catholic-Morgan City coach Tommy Minton brought up his jamboree opener against last year’s Class 2A state runner up Catholic-New Iberia in his time at the podium.
He said every year he writes the schedule on a board in the weight room, and he notated the matchup against the Panthers.
“About three days later, my seniors came to me and said, ‘Coach, we’ve got good news for you,’ ” Minton said. “I said, ‘Well, what’s that guys?’ They said, ‘Well, we won’t be able to make the jamboree. We talked to (principal Vic) Bonaffee, and we switched the senior retreat to that night, so we could pray for the team.’ ”
Last up to the lectern, and maybe the one with the hardest sell, was Catholic-New Iberia coach Brent Indest, but he made it happen anyway.
The Panthers have to figure out how to replace Jason Pellerin and Andre Bellefontaine, a dynamic 1-2 offensive punch that carved up defenses on the way to the Superdome last season.
Oh, and they have to replace a kicker.
Indest went into a long story about how he’s replacing his kicker who went 80-for-82 on last season’s team with his great-nephew.
Never one to sugarcoat anything, Indest said he didn’t go easy on his kin when he struggled this summer, and it drew a rebuke from his mother.
“All of a sudden I’m having Sunday lunch with my mother and she tells me, ‘You need to be more nurturing with Thomas; he’s your great nephew,’ ” Indest said. “So Thomas sits there and misses kicks in practice, and I sit behind him and go, ‘I love you Thomas, I love you Thomas.’ And I’ll be damned, he started making his kicks.
“So now my quarterback, who’s a really sweet kid because he likes to give the ball to the defense, so I just sit there behind him and say, ‘I love you, I love you.’ But that hasn’t worked with him yet. We’re going to keep working on that.”
A panel of judges declared Indest the winner at the conclusion of the luncheon.
The public schools will gather next Tuesday for their Crying Towel luncheon, which Breaux Bridge assistant coach Chris Garvey won last year.