Atchafalaya Football League begins with new rules in place

By: SCOTT JOINER
The Atchafalaya Football League kicked off its season on Saturday with a jamboree.

Several rule changes have been implemented after an ugly incident at the championship game last season, dubbed the Turkey Bowl.

The incident involved a punch thrown by a player that led to an ejection, but adults charged the field and things got out of control.

“We have a policeman on the track and we don’t want people on the track,” Morgan City Youth Recreation Director Seth Thomas said. “Obviously last year with the people on two different sides, we didn’t have enough people to control it if things did really get out of hand. So we decided to have everybody stay on the home side. The players are still on the other side, but the cheerleaders are on the home side and we don’t let anyone but players and coaches, and of course officials, on the field.”

Thomas said the league took disciplinary action against the coaches involved and this season’s coaches were met with to discuss remedies to the issues that could arise in a heated game environment.

“We didn’t allow anyone that coached last year as a head coach this year, that was involved in the incident,” Thomas said. “They are welcome to be assistant coaches. … Obviously there is no way to prevent that from happening. But we have called in the head coaches on a few occasions to go over what we expect and what we want. We met with the officials, they’re going to take matters into their own hands.”

Penalties and rough play are part of football and Thomas said he doesn’t want kids ejected over routine plays, but he urged the coaches to take action with players that consistently break rules or commit excessive personal fouls.

“We just hope that nothing like (the Turkey Bowl) happens and we don’t foresee it,” Thomas said. “It’s a year later. Even the people involved last year wish they could take it back. It wasn’t bad people, it was just something that happened.

“But, to assure the people that are going out there, including cheerleaders and everyone else, we’re taking the steps that we feel are needed.”

Parents will be allowed on the field in the case of an injury, but other than that it will be limited to coaches, players and officials.

The league has been around for approximately 25 to 30 years and there has never been an incident like last season, which includes other sports offered by MCRD.

“They had it handled last year, it was just emotions and coaches and their sons,” Thomas said. “That’s what happens. It’s part of youth sports today, unfortunately. It’s not just here. I see it all the time — all over. Hopefully with the steps we’ve taken, it’s a shame we have to have a policeman there at the game that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is going to happen. They will be there and we’ll have other ones walking through, so that hopefully will curtail anything like that from happening.”

Chiefs 14, Vikings 13

Makye Richard led the Chiefs to victory at the jamboree Saturday with 160 yards with a 90-yard touchdown and a successful point after.

Chris Singleton had a 60-yard touchdown and a fumble recovery along with solid play on defense along with Josh Jones.

Cameron Wiley led the Vikings with 140 yards including a 45-yard touchdown and point after.

Mitchell Fredrick intercepted a pass and returned with 30-yards for a touchdown and Ty Duthu, Blake Hidalgo, Andrew Askew and Fredrick played well on defense.

Saints 13, Colts 12

The Saints inched out a close win over the Colts with Twyan Walker running for 123 yards with a 70-yard touchdown and point after.

Samarick Paul scored on a six-yard run and Zeph Hoffpauir, Maurice Martin, Brandon Jones and Tavaris Howard played well on defense.

Landon Harper led the Colts with 185 yards rushing with two touchdowns of 70 and 80 yards.

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