Bunkie hosts Football Jamboree Friday
It may not feel like it, but it's football season once again.
This Friday (Aug. 30) in Panther Stadium the Bunkie Panthers will host their two in-parish rivals, the Avoyelles Mustangs and the Marksville Tigers.
The 15-minute games will give fans a glimpse of what to expect later this season.
Not too much later for Marksville and Bunkie, however. The two teams clash in the traditional “Catskin” game to open the regular season on Sept. 6.
Avoyelles takes on Marksville in Week 3.
Now that Avoyelles has moved from District 3-AAA to join Bunkie in District 3-AA, the Mustangs and Panthers won’t meet again until late in the season.
What can the faithful fans of the three football-playing schools expect this year?
All three coaches promise an improved version of their past teams.
Avoyelles will continue to take the “foot” out of football -- no punts, no field goals, no one-point kicks, many (if not all) onside kickoffs.
Bunkie will be “run first,” but plans to mix in several pass plays during the game to keep the defense honest.
Marksville is also expected to be mostly running the ball, but a change to a spread offense combined with a good passing quarterback and talented receivers makes the Tigers the most balanced offense in the parish.
Anything can happen in the abbreviated version of the game.
Bunkie fans well remember a Jamboree victory over the Tigers when the two teams were unable to play during the regular season due to scheduling problems.
Chants of “Catskin, Catskin, Catskin” flowed from the Bunkie bleachers that night.
Marksville has dominated the rivalry game of late, winning the last nine games. Bunkie still holds a slight overall edge over the almost seven decades the teams have played.
Avoyelles also has a long-standing rivalry with Marksville, going back to when it was created in 1988. Marksville has won all but one of those games.
Avoyelles has been a bit more successful in its matches with Bunkie.
The Mustangs-Tigers kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
The “mini-Catskin” contest begins at 7 p.m.
Bunkie and Avoyelles play in the finale at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $8.
It is the beginning of a 10-game regular season that each team hopes ends with a district title, a trip to the playoffs and perhaps even a state championship.