Football jamboree time is upon us, and parish football fans are ready.

Ascension Catholic will play Houma Christian at home in jamboree action Friday, with the junior varsity game starting at 6 p.m. followed by varsity play at 7 p.m. The season opener against Catholic of Pointe Coupee is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at home.

Ascension Christian will play their jamboree game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ecole Classique. The Lions will start the regular season at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in an away game against Gueydan.

Donaldsonville will travel to St. James for its jamboree game on Thursday with the junior varsity game beginning at 6 p.m. The varsity will play two 15-minute halves at 7 p.m. The Tigers will open the regular season against Assumption at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 at home.

Dutchtown will face Denham Springs at home in an 8 p.m. game Thursday with two 12-minute halves. Dutchtown opens its season on the road at Lutcher at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4.

The East Ascension Jamboree will be played at Spartan Stadium against St. Amant, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday with freshman, junior varsity and varsity games, with two 12-minute halves for varsity. The Spartans will open the regular season at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 against Denham Springs. The Gators will open up at Live Oak with a 7 p.m. game on Sept. 4.

Volleyball season begins

The Lady Griffins are coming off an 18-14, 6-2 season with one playoff win in the 2014 season. Coach Patrick Ricks’ goals for last season were to win district and advance to the Pontchartrain Center (quarterfinals). 

“We finished second in district and lost in the second round of the playoffs so we had a pretty good year,” Ricks said.

“Our goals this year are the same as last year,” he said. “We want to win district and advance to at least the quarterfinals of the state tournament.”

Kristen Thompson made first team All District and first team All Metro at middle blocker and setter.

“Kristen will be the focus of our offense and defense this year.  She will be setting for the first time, as well, so we will be relying on her to run the offense when she is on the back row,” Ricks said.

“Caroline Beeman is another middle blocker who made first team All District last season. Beeman will help the team by terminating points and controlling the net as a middle blocker. Whitney Jones plays outside hitter so we’ll be counting on Whitney to terminate points from the left and right and block. She also has a great serve that should earn the team some easy points. Bailey Mohler will highlight the defense at the libero position.”

The young players who will be counted on in the 2015 season will be Kathleen Vasterling, Anna Parent, Katelyn Lund, Grace Overstreet and Abby St. Pierre, who will get their opportunities in the starting rotation this season. Dutchtown will open its season on the road at 4 p.m. Sept. 1 against Assumption.

The East Ascension volleyball team experienced the loss of seven seniors from the 2013 season and faced a rebuilding year last season, finishing 16-14, 4-4. Even with the young team, coach Jamie Gilmore had high expectations for the team.

“My expectation for the team last season was to make it to the second round of the playoffs,” Gilmore said. “We fell short and lost out to Slidell in the first round at home.”

Making the playoffs at all was a huge accomplishment.

With three senior starters returning for the 2015 season, expectations are high. “Our returning starters will have a huge impact on this team that will give us a chance to win district and advance in the playoffs,” Gilmore said.

Senior Jessie Watts will handle the middle blocker and setter positions. Senior Emily Venable will work in the setter position, as well, and senior Claire Weinberger will cover duties as an outside hitter. Junior Caitlin Henderson is a young returning starter who will take the court as a middle blocker.

“I am looking forward to this year,” Gilmore said. “With the majority of the team coming back, I am expecting us to do a lot better this year and make it to the state tournament.” The Spartans will open the season on Sept. 1 in a nonconference match at Ascension Catholic at 4 p.m.

Redfish tournament

The Ride the Bull redfish tournament is just about as exciting as the running of the bulls is over in Spain, only it’s held on the water. The brainchild of Danny and Kristen Wray, RTB started six years ago and has become the largest kayak fishing tournament in the world.

The RTB5 tournament shattered the participation record last year with 732 entrants, and this year, the participation record was broken by a single kayaker, with 733 anglers fishing Caminada in the early morning on Aug. 15. 

What made RTB6 so special was not only that a female won for the second year in a row but that that special lady paddler is from Ascension Parish. Jaime Clouatre, of St. Amant, took on the 732 other anglers in the field and topped them all with a 39.18-pound bull redfish. 

A 7 a.m. shotgun start saw the paddlers rushing to get a spot in Caminada Bay, and it didn’t take long for the action as the first bull to hit the scales was caught at 7:23 a.m. Early on, Ricky Smith set the standard with his 35.5-pound red that, compared with other winning weights, seemed a good bet to take it all.

Clouatre and her husband, Stuart, fishing out of a tandem Old Town canoe, didn’t give up even after a couple of setbacks. They didn’t hit the water until about 8:30 a.m. because of a conference call Stuart had to make for work. Then a cousin from Minnesota fishing with them had a minor diabetes-related incident. Another flipped a kayak and had to be brought home.

When they got back to Bridge Side Marina about noon, the smell of the jambalaya lunch was in the air. The temptation to just eat lunch and throw in the towel didn’t last too long and the couple hit the water again.

The decision to stick it out paid off in spades as they paddled right to the bridge to finish the day out. Fishing with a whole crab, the fateful strike came and the fight was on. Her redfish was landed at 12:42 p.m., with just over an hour left in the tournament.

Not only did the fish win but it was her first bull red, as well.

Her 39.18-pound winning redfish earned her quite a package: In addition to a $3,000 cash prize for the largest red, Clouatre pocketed another $100 for being the top-finishing lady angler. To add a little ice cream on top of the pie, she won a Wilderness Atak 140, which included an Adventure Oracle paddle, worth another $2,100 for a grand total of $5,200.

The Clouatre family owns a couple of kayaks and makes paddle fishing a family affair. Son Aiden, 12, along with siblings Allie, 10; Abram, 8; and Anna, 4, join in as the family fishes in Blind River and bayous in the area.

Well, did Jamie Clouatre enjoy her day fishing Ride the Bull?

“Other than my wedding day and the birth of my four children, this was the best day of my life,” she said.

I think these folks will be fishing in paddle boats for a long time to come.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@theadvocate.com.