Trey Ragas, Will Matthews help lead Class 5A All-State team _lowres

Advocate photo by KYLE ENCAR Shaw running back Trey Ragas carries the ball against Rummel on Oct. 11 at Joe Yenni in Metairie.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have devoted this space to writing about jamborees.

To me, they were just glorified scrimmages where starters watched from the sidelines and few fans attended.

Then I moved to New Orleans two years ago and quickly discovered that jamborees here are a pretty big deal.

My first jamboree was two years ago in Covington on a Friday when I watched John Curtis beat Salmen and then watched Mandeville and Franklinton play to a 14-14 tie in front of a crowd far bigger than I was accustomed to for jamborees.

The next night, I watched Leonard Fournette score three touchdowns (on just six carries) as St. Aug easily defeated Amite.

The fact the nation’s No. 1 player was actually playing in a jamboree was all the confirmation I needed that jamborees really are a big deal here.

Well, it’s jamboree week again, the last dress rehearsal before the LHSAA season kicks off next week.

So with a full slate of jamborees on tap, here is my countdown on the top 10 jamboree matchups for local teams:

10. Lutcher vs. Destrehan: Lutcher moves down from 4A to 3A, but returns almost everyone on offense and goes up against what should be a downright nasty defense anchored by LSU commitment Glen Logan and Texas commitment Gerald Wilborn.

9. McMain vs. McDonogh 35: The Roneagles have gotten a lot of buzz because of all their Division I prospects, but Mustangs have tons of playmakers, especially at the skill positions, as well which could make for plenty of highlights Saturday at Tad Gormley.

8. Landry-Walker vs. East St. John: First-year East St. John coach Alden Foster may not see a better team all season when it goes up against one of the nation’s top junior quarterbacks in Keytaon Thompson.

7. Jesuit vs. Hahnville: Does Jesuit have a lot of work to do? Or was McDonogh 35 just that good in last week’s scrimmage? We’ll know more Thursday when the Blue Jays go to Tiger Land.

6. St. Charles vs. St. Thomas Aquinas: A pair of 2A teams with solid chances of winning their respective district titles.

5. Riverside vs. Mandeville: It’s 2A vs. 5A, but Riverside has some playmakers — like wide receiver Herb McGee — that should make this one intriguing.

4. Rummel vs. St. Paul’s: Air Raiders? Well, Rummel definitely has an added dimension now with the emergence of sophomore receiver Jamar Chase, who was unstoppable in last week’s scrimmage against Catholic High. The Wolves will be a stiff test, though. Don’t be surprised if both of these teams are champions in their districts at season’s end.

3. John Curtis vs. Franklinton: Patriots and Demons make the Mandeville jamboree your best bang for your buck with two games in the top five of this list.

2. Shaw vs. John Ehret: So who is the King of Marrero? We’ll see Friday night at Hoss Memtsas when one of the state’s top running backs — Shaw’s Trey Ragas — goes up against one of the state’s top defenses.

1. Karr vs. Aug: The bad news? The Cougars and Purple Knights won’t meet in the regular season. The good news? They will play Saturday night at Tad Gormley as new Karr coach Brice Brown and new St. Aug coach Al Jones match wits.

It is the final jamboree of the season, bringing true meaning to saving the best for last.

It’ll likely end with a postgame celebration by the winning team to let you know just how meaningful this jamboree was. Next week, the real fun begins.