The Edna Karr football team has finished its season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome each of the past four seasons.
With the graduation of 20 players now playing college football off last year’s team, not many people are giving the Cougars a chance to make it back to the Dome.
Don’t count second-year coach Nathaniel Jones among those naysayers.
“My song doesn’t change,” Jones said Wednesday. “We are still at 3332 Huntlee Drive. Karr is going to be Karr. I don’t worry about what people say or think. … Winning state is always the goal. You come to Karr to play for state. But the goal today is to win today. Before we worry about December, we worry about August 27th. We just want to be the best we can today and December will take care of itself.”
Karr will see just how far its new faces have come when it plays Jesuit on Thursday in the sixth annual Kiwanis Jamboree at Joe Yenni Stadium.
The jamboree starts at 5:30 p.m., with Bonnabel and Grace King playing in the second game at 7.
Karr and Jesuit are ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s preseason Super 10.
The Blue Jays are ranked sixth. The Cougars, who lost to East Jefferson in the Class 4A championship game last season, are ranked No. 9.
“I want to see us get off to a fast start,” Jones said. “In a jamboree, you don’t have much time. So I want us to play smart and be physical and really see us improve from last week.”
Jones said his team didn’t start off well against Higgins in a scrimmage marred by weather delays.
“But I think they have shown an ability to adapt to change when adverse situations come up,” Jones said. “We are getting a chance to see who they are. Before now, a lot of it has just been speculation. Now we are seeing them under pressure and going up against somebody else.”
Some of the early game woes last week can be expected from a team littered with new faces in starting roles. Players like Speedy Noil (Texas A&M), Gerald Willis (Florida) and Glenn Irons (Nebraska) are no longer around.
“It’s the experience we are replacing moreso than the athleticism,” Jones said. “(Former quarterback) Kerry Taylor wasn’t a big-armed gunslinger or a 4.3 guy, but he knew what he was doing in given situations and had a lot of football savvy. With (new quarterback) Aldon Clark, you have that big arm, but not as much experience. So we know we will have to go with some of the growing pains and man the ship as we grow.”
Defensive end Isaiah Washington and linebacker Tyrin Ferguson will lead the defense.
Washington, an LSU commitment, doesn’t expect there to be much of a dropoff this season, despite the team’s inexperience.
“People keep sleeping on us, but we are coming back with a squad people don’t know about,” Washington said. “Karr never has a rebuilding year. We reload.”
Karr opens the regular season on Sept. 5 at No. 10 ranked St. Paul’s.