Kiwanis Club member André Doguet filled the press box at the Cro Dome with the sultriest tones he could muster in the minutes before Friday night’s jamboree hosted by Carencro.
“Oh say can you see?” Doguet sang.
Thirty seconds passed, maybe a minute.
“Oh say can you see?” Doguet repeated.
He leaned over to explain himself. The club didn’t have a backup to sing the national anthem, and we weren’t about to have a good ol’ fashioned Friday night filled of football without our minute-long shot of Americana, so Doguet volunteered his voice.
“Oh say can you see?”
He never made it any farther than that. He didn’t need to.
“If you want to do the rest well, you better hit the opening notes,” Doguet explained.
Well dang, André, thanks for writing my story for me.
The last two nights of jamboree action, in the grand scheme of things, are meaningless. The losing teams will still head into next week’s season openers with unblemished records, the stats from the scrimmages somewhere in a trash heap, forgotten forever.
But still, there’s something to be said for nailing those opening notes. Hit them, and you feel good about the remainder of the song. When those notes are flat? Well, back to the drawing board.
A couple of local teams left the field this week snapping their fingers in rhythm.
Acadiana looked every bit of a team that would contend for a repeat appearance in the state championship game. The Wreckin’ Rams demolished St. Martinville in two 12-minute halves, rolling to a 30-0 win that could’ve been much, much uglier.
St. Martinville managed only 52 total yards against the Rams, less than a quarter of the total yards put together by the Rams’ next running back prodigy.
Yep, you read that right. In what amounted to two quarters of football, senior running back Malik Eugene accumulated 220 yards on the ground and in the return game. He looked like a Formula 1 car on a NASCAR track.
“Malik’s got great speed,” said Acadiana coach Ted Davidson. “When we give him a crease, he can go.”
The last three times Eugene touched the ball, he scored.
He closed the first half with a 70-yard kick return for a score, streaking down the field like a bolt of lightning. The only time he touched the ball in the second half, he tore through a hole in the right side and scampered 59 yards for a score, the last touchdown of the game. Not a bad beginning of the year for the younger brother of former Acadiana star Micah Eugene.
“I’ve been expecting that for a couple years out of him,” Davidson said. “He’s got a pretty good bloodline from Acadiana High. He’s come in with a different focus this summer and fall camp, and I’m not surprised by it. I’m pleased by it, not surprised.”
He wasn’t the only running back to burst onto the 2014 scene on a high note.
Carencro High sophomore Tyriek Campbell looked like he was channeling his coach, former Carencro, LSU and NFL star Kevin Faulk, with 99 yards and three touchdowns in a winning effort for the Bears.
Look, you might think I’m being a little overzealous with that comparison, and truthfully I probably am.
But I wasn’t the only one who was brought back in time by Campbell’s skills.
“Kevin and I looked at each other and said, ‘Ooh! That guy might’ve been able to play for us in the 90s when we had some real tailbacks around here,’” Eveland joked after the game. “We’re excited about him.”
Campbell not only wanted to hit the opening note, he wanted to hit it violently. There was no dancing in the hole for the young running back from Carencro.
“He’s the missile man,” Eveland said about his young running back.
Oh, and Carencro’s defense didn’t fare too badly either. Cecilia managed just 17 yards on the ground.
Not too bad of an opening note for these guys. We’ll see if it works for them like it did for André, who grabbed the press box microphone, nailed the opening notes and zoomed through a perfect national anthem.
“Oh say can you see?”