Jamboree games usually mean as much to a high school football team as any of their of preseason scrimmages, which are used as preparation for the regular season. It was different this year for Capitol, which lost to Istrouma 29-20.
Fueled by a desire to show it knows how to win, Capitol followed up the jamboree loss with wins over Glen Oaks and McKinley.
“I know the jamboree didn’t count for anything but bragging rights, but after that loss we could see that the kids were hungry,” said Capitol coach Dorsett Buckels, who directed the Lions to a 5-5 record and a playoff berth in 2018. Capitol had four consecutive losing seasons prior to that success. “The kids didn’t like the feeling they had (after a loss) so we went back to the drawing board, put it behind us and we’re moving forward.”
A key component of Capitol moving forward has been the play junior Jacoby Bellazar, a two-way player who sees time at wide receiver on offense and safety on defense. No matter where he lines up, Bellazar has shown a knack for making big plays and finding his way into the end zone.
Through two games, Bellazar he has scored seven touchdowns, four of which came in Capitol’s season-opening 62-0 win over Glen Oaks. He scored all three Lions touchdowns in a 22-20 win over McKinley, and, in what has become typical for him, only one of the touchdowns was conventional.
Bellazar forced a fumble before scooping it up and returning it for a score. He also scored on a kickoff return, and turned a short pass into another touchdown.
“The McKinley game was a big game,” said Bellazar, who admitted the Lions might have been fooled by the Panthers 68-7 loss to Scotlandville in week 1. “We thought their defense would come out and lay down, but they didn’t. Still, we handled our business and we got the win.”
Handling business is something Bellazar has done in a variety of ways this season. Of his seven touchdowns, two were on interception returns, two came on kick returns, two were receiving scores and the other was the fumble return.
“He comes to practice and works hard, but he works hard on and off the field,” Buckels said of Bellazar, who scored 10 touchdowns all of last season. “I’m definitely proud of him and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what he’s been doing.”
Buckels also pointed out that Capitol is more than a one-man team, and praised the play of running back Bryan Foley, receivers Kastopha Hankton and Romell Jones, and quarterback Colby Tucker. On defense, the play of linebacker Keishun Taylor has impressed him.
A team effort will be of prime importance this week when Capitol hosts defending Class 2A champion Amite. Buckels, who grew up in Amite and played for the Warriors before moving on to play at LSU, is very familiar with his team’s opponent.
“Its awfully exciting to play your alma mater,” he said. “I know they won a championship last year, but our mindset at Capitol is we feel we can compete with anyone. We’ll be ready for the opponent.”