There were no long film sessions nor a bulky playbook to learn. Heavy rains sent the teams straight to gymnasiums for their first practices.

No state title is on the line, which makes it fair to ask “What’s the deal with the LHSCA/LFCA All-Star football game?”

Those involved say it’s a pretty big deal. The annual East-West game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium.

“You know, I love it,” West coach Jess Curtis of Many High School said. “It was a little rough the other day because of the rain, but it’s been great.

“You’ve got kids from 1A and 2A schools, and they’re looking at the 5A guys. They all want to show they can play, and they have. It really didn’t take long at all for things to start coming together.”

The two 35-player squads started practicing Wednesday afternoon and finished game preparations with two practices Friday at Live Oak and Denham Springs high schools. The LHSCA game moved to the Baton Rouge area for the first time after two years in Shreveport.

“It’s been a fabulous experience,” East coach Mark Songy of Jesuit said. “The biggest thing you worry about is putting a group of kids like this together away from home.

“They were picked because they’re good players. That part of it you know, but you wonder if they’ll get along. They hit it off right away.”

But can they play? Skeptics bemoan the fact that a number of top prospects opt to bypass the game. Curtis and Songy said their teams’ speed should provide lots of big-play opportunities.

“Football is a game that’s meant to be played fast,” Curtis said. “That’s one of the reasons, besides the time factor, that you don’t put much in offensively or defensively. You want them to react and do what they know how to do — play fast.”

Ascension Episcopal’s Jake Arceneaux and Patterson’s Sirbastian Charles are the quarterbacks for the West. St. Paul’s Kenny Sears and Kyran Irvin of East Ascension are the East quarterbacks.

“We came together the first time we stepped on the field,” Irvin said. “I’m excited to get the chance to play. I like this team.”

St. James linebacker Aquindas Steib said he feels the same way about his West squad.

“We’ve got some guys who can play,” Steib said. “You’ve got to make plays.”