Page 1

2 L ‘Observateur



L ‘Observateur


In This Issue... East St. John Wildcats

• • • • • • • • • Page 5

Riverside Rebels • • • • • • • • • • • • • Page 8 St. Charles Catholic • • • • • • • • • • Page 12 West St. John • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Page 16 Lutcher Bulldogs • • • • • • • • • • • • Page 23 St. James Wildcats • • • • • • • • • • • Page 26 Destrehan Wildcats • • • • • • • • • • Page 30 Hahnville Tigers • • • • • • • • • • • • • Page 33




4 L ‘Observateur


Optimistic about chances of local squads in ‘11 Are you ready for some football? The River Parishes are never short on contenders and the last two seasons have been no exception. St. Charles reached the state semifinals last season. East St. John was a high seed in Class 5A, as was Lutcher in 4A. Riverside made school history with its offense and rolled to the state quarterfinals. In St. John Parish alone, things seem to be looking especially up. Let’s start with East St. John, which breaks in a new head coach in Phillip Banko. The Wildcats have been on such a roller coaster ride dating back to last season. The controversial exit of longtime coach Larry Dauterive; the loss of a potential undefeated season in a heartbreaker against Dutchtown; the hardluck draw of “27-seed” and eventual state champion Acadiana in the first round of the postseason; and something of a drawn out search for Dauterive’s replacement involving several candidates. I have a good feeling about the Banko era. After such turmoil, I think the program needs a stabilizing figure to guide it onto the right path. We won’t know about his ingame coaching tenden-

cies until the games are live, though his resume (including a stay in the NFL and time on the collegiate level) indicates that it certainly won’t be a weakpoint. But he seems to have already won over his team. Much of what he has said since taking the job points to a concerted effort to instill discipline and promote team unity … and granted, all coaches have that as a goal on some level and many successful ones are able to do just that. My point is it seems, from my observation, to be effective. And the team’s boasts strong leadership on the field in the form on quarterback Darion Monroe. I think a lot of people will subscribe to the idea that the loss of ultra talented wide receiver D’haquille Williams, as well as the unknown of a new head coach, will derail hopes of an extended playoff stay. I don’t agree. Having only seen them in a spring game and in one scrimmage, I can only base it on a feel … but I think it’s a team overdue for a strong playoff run. Class 5A is a minefield, but I think the Wildcats will be a factor. St. Charles Catholic moves back to Class 3A this year and all expectations point to the

RYAN ARENA SPORTS EDITOR Comets having a lot to say within the class this season. St. Charles has more firepower in 2011 than it did in 2008 or 2007, its last seasons in 3A that saw the team knocked out early. Running backs Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson are seniors, as well as cornerback/wide receiver Jeffrey Hall and defensive end LaJaylin Smith. All have been part of the core of this team for the past two seasons — the Comets’ deep postseason runs of the last two years were not made simply due to a return to Class 2A. Thompson has already signed with Tulane; he’s not likely to be the last D-I signee from the team, either. Something tells me St. Charles knows the opportunity it has this season. Watching them play Hahnville in last week’s scrimmage, the Comets looked like a team on a mission and the result reflected that.

It will be a tall task to get through Class 3A, because even earning a high seed will likely see SCC have to win at least four very tough games. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Comets finally close the deal in the Superdome. My gut instinct? It will happen; SCC has fallen just short too many times. Like East St. John, I think the Comets are due on that note. Riverside might be the biggest enigma of the four St. John teams this preseason. I don’t doubt that the Rebels will be highly competitive. They always are. But it’s the team with the biggest turnover within the parish, with almost all principle parts of last season’s record shattering offense having graduated. I’ve seen Tate Scioneaux excel in multiple sports since I began working at L’Observateur in 2007. I think he’ll do just fine at quarterback. And all indications are that Riverside’s got talent in the running game, with Nate Williams and Jonquial Sanders forming a strong 1-2 punch. I think what will determine the Rebels’ fate is just how far the offensive line comes — just one starter returns — and how big of a

leap the defense can make from a year ago. Lucas Martin figures to make a sizeable impact at safety. Scioneaux and Williams, though, will have to pull double duty and maintain their strong play at corner. The defensive line must develop quickly. I don’t think records will fall again this season, but the cupboard isn’t bare. Ultimately, I see the Rebels going … let’s say 6-4 in the regular season, as the early schedule is tough for a team replacing so many starters. But I wouldn’t put a victory or two in the playoffs past Mickey Roussel and his staff, who two years ago pulled consecutive playoff upsets. This is a team that should play its best football later in the year. West St. John, meanwhile, will be more experienced than a year ago, especially offensively. The team boasts tremendous skill weapons, as Jarius Moll and Jeremy Jackson have already compiled big individual numbers. The team has also opened eyes at a number of seven-on-seven competitions; WSJ left one tourney as champion and placed third in another as sophomore quarterback Austin Howard continues to develop a strong chem-

istry with his talented group of targets. But the team’s defense is perhaps the biggest reason why this is a team that can make a deep run. Ronnie Feist returns as one of the state’s most devastating linebackers. Moll and fellow cornerback Lawrence Williams are also seniors, and Dontre Turner returns from an injury sustained early last season to give Feist a partner in crime at linebacker this season — coach Robert Valdez expects big things from both. Valdez won’t make predictions. But he seems to be on the lookout for some big things. If Howard has made the strides that his summer work suggests he has, there are a lot of pieces in place. Moll and Feist have consistently been this team’s top playmakers; like the SCC quartet, they are now seniors. Last season, they fell in the playoffs to the eventual state champs. This season, I think that experience fuels them. The Rams I believe will advance at least once, then again in the postseason. And in Class 1A, you never know how far a traditional power like West St. John can go if it builds a head of steam entering the postseason. A trip to the Dome? Possible.

Super Bowl Picks (Yes, we are part of an office full of homers) Ryan Arena: Patriots vs. Saints ... David Vitrano: Dolphins vs. Saints ... Robin Shannon: Chargers vs. Saints Scott Madere: Jets vs. Saints ... Rhett Triche: Jets vs. Saints

L ‘Observateur




East St. John Wildcats

Banko lends new voice to hopeful Wildcats BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

East St. John will be reaching for a number of goals in 2011, but one prime objective stands out from all others. The Wildcats believe: It’s time to end The Streak. From 2007 to 2010, East St. John successfully extended its impressive run of postseason appearances. But on each occasion, the Wildcats would fall in the first round. Last season was likely the biggest heartbreaker. Led by two of the elite players in the

state in quarterback Darion Monroe and wide receiver D’haquille Williams, the Wildcats rattled off wins in nine of 10 games and came a play away from an undefeated regular season. This all came as the team rallied around one another in spite of the sudden exit of former coach Larry Dauterive, who stepped down after seven games in the midst of controversy. But when the postseason brackets were released, East St. John — which came very close to beating topseeded Dutchtown dur-

ing the regular season under then-interim coach Ronald Barrilleaux – would be matched up against No. 27th seeded Acadiana. Acadiana was a 27-seed in name only, a 9-1 team that forfeited four wins due to an ineligible player. The Wildcats would fall at home in a lopsided loss to the eventual state champion. But the page has turned. Phillip Banko, who coached under Dauterive as his defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, was named ESJ’s new football coach and athletic

director in February. Banko has coached on every level: he was a defensive assistant under Butch Davis with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and as an assistant in NFL Europe. He coached under Davis at the University of Miami, was the defensive coordinator at West Georgia, and most recently worked as Pontchatoula’s defensive coordinator for two seasons. Banko has made clear that he intends for his team to finally clear that first postseason hurdle. But what also becomes clear after

talking to ESJ’s new head coach is that of all the qualities he brings that likely impressed St. John Parish School Superintendent Courtney Millet enough to recommended him for hire, his attention to detail has to be close to the top of the list. It starts with attitude and atmosphere, and East St. John’s players have bought in to what Banko is preaching. “T.E.A.M. Together everyone achieves more,” said ESJ receiver Dez Broussard after hauling in two touchdown catches in a scrimmage against St.

James. “What we do, we do together. We win together and we lose together.” He promotes the idea of team in many ways. ESJ has established a “senior leadership council” in which a selected group of seniors will convene to decide the punishment for a player than hasn’t fulfilled his duties. Banko encourages all players — not only seniors — to take on an active leadership role (“From the seniors to the freshman, I tell them, ‘Everyone is a senior. This SEE WILDCATS, PAGE 6


6 L ‘Observateur


WILDCATS: Monroe leads on field and off of it FROM PAGE 6

is your team.’ The same for our other coaches. Everyone needs to be pushing for the same goal,” he said.). Helping Banko establish the culture he wants in the locker room and on the field is quarterback Darion Monroe. Monroe, a Texas A&M commitment, immediately established himself as an elite quarterback last season piling up 2,500 total yards and 42 total touchdowns. He broke Ryan Perrilloux’s record for combined passing and rushing yardage in a game (473-423). He’ll look to build on those numbers as a senior. But Banko talks just as much about Monroe’s qualities as a person. “He’s a humble leader. He doesn’t act like he needs special treatment,” said Banko. “All he does is come in here and ask us if he can do anything to help us get better today. He’s a good student and he’s a leader in the school. And when he gets on

the field and in the huddle, his teammates listen because they respect him. “Guys like him don’t come along very often. I’m very fortunate. It’s our job to keep him healthy and zeroed in.” The ‘Cats lose one of the state’s most prolific receivers in D’haquille Williams. But East St. John has often boasted a deep and talented receiving corps, and the same looks to be the case today. Rashad Green and Broussard look to lead the receiving corps. Broussard has a breakout scrimmage performance last week. Green, meanwhile, has had a tremendous summer of his own, according to Banko. “He’s as good as they get. He’s come to us from day one looking for ways to get better. He can run, jump, catch, block … he’s a possession receiver that can also take it the distance. He’s a playmaker, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Everyone wants to know how we’ll replace

D’haquille. And that’s one thing that fuels him.” The backfield is deep. Jalen Kenner, Devonte Johnson and Kadeem Vance are all expected to see action. Dontarion Savoy is the lone senior starter on an offensive line that boasts good size. Defensively, Gerron Borne leads the way for the team’s defense, which Banko said will operate primarily from a 3-4 base. The 6-foot-3, 285 pound wall on the defensive line returns as a senior off of a strong season. Beyond him, Banko made a reference to the ’72 Dolphins, calling his defensive unit “the no-name defense.” It lacks recognized stars, he said. “But it’s just a tough, hard-nosed, no-nonsense group of kids that run to the ball and make plays.” Cornerback Nathan Anderson, safety Clarence Scott and linebackers Rendell Delay and Devin Jones are among projected senior starters for the Wildcat defense.

East St. John Coach: Phillip Banko Record at School: First Year

District opponents: Destrehan, Hahnville, Higgins, Ehret, Bonnabel

Career Record: N/A

Offense: Multiple

2010 Record: 9-2 (Second District 6-5A, out in bi-district round)

Defense: Multiple/3-4 base

Banko also wants to see improved special teams play and has emphasized such to his players. “People say special teams is 30-percent of the game. I say it’s more like 60,” said Banko. “We start practice with it every day.” State championship contenders like John Curtis and Parkview Baptist adorn the Wildcats’ predistrict schedule. Rivalry games against Destrehan and Hahnville come within it. Banko knows it won’t be easy. “But if you want to beat the best, you have to play the best,” he said. “We’ll be ready to go, rippin’ and roarin’.”

ESJ Schedule Date


Aug. 26 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 6 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

SCC Jamboree @ Carencro vs. St. Louis @ Curtis vs. P. Baptist vs. Capitol @ John Ehret* vs. Hahnville* @ Destrehan* vs. Higgins* @ Bonnabel*

*District games

L ‘Observateur










Wildcats’ Projected Starters Offense


WR - Rashad Green, Sr.

DL - Gerron Borne, Sr.

WR - Deszmann Broussard, Jr.

DL - Dwayne Johnson, Sr.

WR - Marcus Robinson, Sr.

DL - Davaron Stockman, So.

TE - Thaddeus Knight, Sr.

LB - Rendell Delay, Sr.

RB - Kadeem Vance, Jr.

LB - Devin Jones, Sr.

RB - Devonte Johnson, Sr.

LB - Fred Williams, Jr.

RB - Jalen Kenner, Sr.

LB - Justin Anderson, Jr.

QB - Darion Monroe, Sr.

OR Cardell Coleman, Jr.

OL - Raheem Bolden, Jr.

CB - Jeremy Piper, Jr.

OL - Darren Davis, Jr.

CB - Nathan Anderson, Sr.

OL - Christian Bailey, So.

S - Leonard Davis, Jr.

OL - Dontarion Savoy, Sr.

S - Clarence Scott, Sr.

OL - Ronad Guillard, Jr.




Riverside Academy Rebels

Photo by Romaguera Photography

Rebels look to replenish offense, step up ‘D’ BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

It’s been a time of great excitement at Riverside over the past few years, over a variety of sports. The Rebel athletic program has assembled a strong staff of coaches, many of which boast a long track record of success. Last season alone, the Rebels boys basketball team captured its second consecutive state championship; the softball team put together a sensational regular season and returned to Sulphur as the top seed in Class 2A; and the football team brought a brand of high-flying action like never before to the school, as the Riverside offense all but rewrote the school record books led by Class 2A MVP Darnell Rachal, the team’s elec-

trifying quarterback. Riverside scored over 40 points per game last season. Against elite level competition, the Rebels were able to put points on the board. Against anything less, Riverside was completely unstoppable; Riverside scored 40 points or more in all 10 of its wins and scored 55 points or more three times on its way to a finish as a state quarterfinalist. RA lost just three games, once to 2A semifinalist St. Charles and twice to 2A runnerup Curtis. That was an experienced Rebels team. In 2011, Riverside must replace the majority of starters from that team, nine in all. But the team’s spread offense will remain intact. Only this year, coach Mickey Roussel said, its focus will be a

bit different. “We won’t run the quarterback 20 times a game, no,” said Roussel, who said that new starting quarterback Tate Scioneaux has been adjusting well as the offense’s leader. “We won’t ask Tate to do the things that Darnell did … he completed eight or nine passes in our scrimmage (against St. Thomas Aquinas) and made some things happen.” If the Rebels can rebuild their offensive line quickly, the running game looks like it could be a strength. Nate Williams was highly efficient in limited duty last season, behind Rachal and departed senior tailback Thomas Crouch in the carry distribution. But he rushed for over 500 yards, starred

in the team’s spring game, and he scored the team’s lone touchdown in the scrimmage at STA, on a reception from Scioneaux. “He was under the radar for us last year, but Nate played well,” said Roussel. “He’s not a very big kid (Williams is 5-foot-7 and weighs 155 pounds) but we think he’s a college football player. He’s very quick and tough to get a good lick on.” Williams’ ability to both run and catch might allow Riverside some flexibility in playing Williams together with another rusher the Rebels feel very good about, Jonquial Sanders. Sanders is a junior that sat out last season after transferring over to Riverside. At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, Sanders has shown Roussel and his

staff “some pretty amazing things” that the coach expects to carry over into games. Wide receiver Brandon Millet is also expected to be a go-to player. At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, he has good size and some experience after playing in spots a year ago. “He’s got a great skill set,” said Roussel. Defensively, the Rebels are more experienced, bringing back seven starters. Scioneaux and Williams will also see a lot of action on that side of the ball, each playing cornerback as they did a year ago. Scioneaux was an All-District performer as a defensive back after hauling in six interceptions as a junior. Lucas Martin, Josh Ladner and Zack Weber will return at safety.

The latter two are experienced rovers in the Rebels’ 3-3-5 defensive alignment. Martin, meanwhile, is a prospect that Roussel expects to make an impact. “We think he’ll be a big-time player for us,” he said. “He can go to the next level.” Grady Gieger is the Rebels’ defensive leader. The senior linebacker tallied 90 tackles to top everyone on the team a year ago. Fellow senior Kalen Jenkins joins him in the linebacking corps and is also a top prospect. Both are entering their third season as starter. Up front, the Rebels must replace all starters from 2010. Senior Wren Vicknair was entrenched in the rotaSEE REBELS, PAGE 9

L ‘Observateur




REBELS: Face challenging district FROM PAGE 8 Riverside’s Tate Scioneaux has excelled as an All-District performer in the Rebel secondary. But in 2011, Scioneaux will take on the responsibilty of being the man under center, taking over at quarterback to lead RA’s spread attack.

tion last year and is the most experienced returnee. He has had a good spring. Roussel concedes that RA’s scoring output will realistically fall with the loss of so many key players from a year ago.. That means, he said, the defense must step up. “We know we need to be better than we were a year ago,” he said.

Kicker C.J. Edler boasts a strong and accurate leg, providing the Rebels’ special teams unit with an advantage. Roussel calls him a weapon whose solid play could land him at the next level next season. The Rebels will have to work out the kinks early. Curtis will again be the team to beat in District 9-2A, and South Plaquemines moves up from Class 1A to pro-

vide another challenge. But the Rebels figure to be a factor in the 2A ranks once again. If Riverside wins nine games this season, Roussel will join the ranks of the state’s 200win coaches. That would be yet another feather in the cap of the Rebels’ coaching fraternity, as it continues to provide plenty of excitement for the school and its supporters.

10 L ‘Observateur









L ‘Observateur

Riverside Coach: Mickey Roussel (21 years)


Rebels’ Projected Starters Offense

WR - Brandon Millet, Sr.

DE - Wren Vicknair, Sr.

WR – Lucas Martin, Sr.

NG - Garrett Ganacheau, Jr.

Career Record: 191-78

WR – Trevor Kenney, Sr.

DE - Shane Weber, Sr.

QB - Tate Scioneaux, Sr.

LB - Grady Gieger, Sr.

OL – Travis Trosclair, Sr.

LB - Kalen Jenkins, Sr.

OL - Paydon Triche, Sr.

LB – Matt Dupepe, Jr.

OL – Heathe Robertson, Sr.

LB – Brandon Hymel, Fr.

OL – Cameron Bivonia, So.

FS – Lucas Martin, Sr.

OL – Steven Leblanc, Sr.

SS - Josh Ladner, Sr.

OL - Jonathan Newbauer, Sr.

SS - Zack Weber, Sr.

RB – Nate Williams, Sr.

SS - Evan Veron, 8th

RB - Jonquial Sanders, Jr.

CB – Nate Williams, Sr.

RB – Jeremiah Berteau, So.

CB – Tate Scioneaux, Sr.

District opponents: Curtis, S. Plaquemines, Newman, Cohen, Carver, Clark Offense: Spread Defense: 3-3-5

RA Schedule


Record at School: 191-78

2010 Record: 10-3 (third, District 9-2A, lost in quarterfinals)




Aug. 26 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

SCC Jamboree @ Loranger vs. Salmen vs. Brusly @ S. Plaquemines* vs. Curtis* vs. Cohen* vs. McCoy vs. Carver* @ Newman* @ Clark*

*District games



12 L ‘Observateur


St. Charles Catholic Comets

Comets not short on talent as they return to 3A BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

LaJaylin Smith squared up as he saw the ballcarrier coming and unloaded with all his might, landing a crushing hit that created a cringe-worthy sound that echoed throughout Hahnville’s stadium in Thursday’s scrimmage. The Tiger rusher fell to the ground. Smith remained standing. And his teammates would keep cheering well after the play was through. On the stat sheet,

Smith’s hit represented just a single stop for a short gain. Emotionally though, it seemed to provide that lift that the Comets have often found at key times over the years, helping to promote an intensity level that coach Frank Monica has been looking for throughout the summer and that the team will need greatly as it moves back up to a very competitive Class 3A. “The energy level surprised me, because I hadn’t seen it in our work coming into the scrimmage,” said

Monica, whose first team left an impression on all by outscoring the 5A Tigers six touchdowns to one. Commenting on his team’s earlier summer work, Monica had said that while his team seemed to be coming along on schedule, he felt that there was a reachable, higher level it had yet to achieve. Such talk is usual for the veteran coach at this time of the year, and sure enough each year his team answers the call, no matter the names, no matter the faces.

St. Charles has been a Class 2A power, its last four years in the classification ending either in a finish as state runner-up (2005, 2006, 2009) or semifinalist (2010). The Comets haven’t exactly struggled in Class 3A either. A district championship came in their last season there, besting eventual state champion Lutcher among others, in a year that included a 10-game winning streak. But SCC’s playoff stay would end prematurely each season, both ending in the

regional round. That is the catch-22 of a move to 3A: while there is no roadblock at the end quite like a Curtis or Evangel as in Class 2A, 3A offers a much deeper slate of teams. But at least on paper, this Comet team enters the 3A field with more firepower than either of its previous two 3A entrants. When SCC hands the ball off, the ball is in good hands. Marcus Hall and Lazedrick Thompson each made their mark as sophomore teammates and upped their production

as juniors, evolving into one of the most productive rushing tandems in the state. The duo combined for over 50 touchdowns last season. At just 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Hall isn’t someone who Monica wants pound and wear down for 30 carries a night – nor does he need that many touches to be ultra productive, as his 30-plus scores as a rusher, receiver and return man last season would indicate. The 2010 AllState selection is a SEE COMETS, PAGE 13

L ‘Observateur



COMETS: SCC boasts wealth of playmakers FROM PAGE 12

weapon in every sense of the word. Thompson, a Tulane commitment, is pretty explosive in his own right — in the aforementioned scrimmage, he tallied 134 yards and three touchdowns, including a 70-yard run. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he’s the smashmouth compliment to the flash in the speedy Hall’s game. Between the two, the Comets’ offense stays on schedule — and often arrives early. Senior Donnie Savoie is the first incumbant starter that SCC has returned in the last five seasons. The stability should serve St. Charles well. Savoie, Monica noted, had a fine grasp of the offense in his first season

as a starter, and has only refined his knowledge of it since then. “It’s a major asset,” said Monica. “His read progression and his ability to make the right decisions really serve us well.” SCC will return two starters on the line in Gabriel Alarcon and Hunter Specht, both seniors. They lead a line that Monica said will key it all (“Like the old adage says, all backs look alike when you have poor blocking,” Monica said.). Brandon Zimmer returns as the team’s lead blocker in the backfield. Sammy Miller and Chris Millet form a brand new passcatching tandem at wideout. Defensively, the Comets return some experi-

ence, with eight of 11 starters returning and a ninth, Macky Cortez, who received a lot of playing time a year ago. However, two of those starters — Jeffrey Hall and Ross Authement — find themselves in new positions. Authement moves to safety from end, while Hall actually moves from wide receiver to cornerback. These moves came because SCC had to entirely overhaul a secondary that lost five of its top six players to graduation. Up front, Monica thinks SCC will be better than it was a year ago, as six of the front seven are returning starters. Smith sets the tempo for that group, a senior entering his fifth year as a major contrib-

“It’s a major asset. (Savoie’s) read progression and his ability to make the right decisions really serve us well.”

Frank Monica St. Charles Football Coach

utor. The end was the team’s leading tackler last season. Nick Montagut led the linebacking unit in tackles and returns for his senior year as well. And at 6-foot-1 and 310 pounds junior Taylor Cochran will be counted on as an anchor, bringing the type of size that the smaller Comets don’t often boast up the middle. St Charles often creates separation with its knack for excelling on special teams. It will have to replace its kicker and punter from a year ago. But the return game will be a familiar sight: Marcus Hall and Jeffrey Hall should continue to be playmakers there.


SCC Schedule Date


Aug. 26 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

St. Charles Jamboree @ Tate (Florida) @ Vandebilt Cath. vs. Northshore vs. M. McCoy vs. Jeanerette vs. Donaldsonville* @ Port Allen* vs. Brusly* @ St. James* vs. E.D. White*

*District games


14 L ‘Observateur


Comets’ Projected Starters Offense


TE - Matt Torres, Sr.

DE - Evan Stein, Jr.

WR - Sammy Miller, Sr.

DT - David Bleakley, Jr.

WR - Chris Millet, Sr.

BG - Marcus Navarro, Jr.

RB - Brandon Zimmer, Jr.

DT - Taylor Cochran, Jr.

RB - Marcus Hall, Sr.

DE - LaJaylin Smith, Sr.

RB - Lazedrick Thompson, Sr.

LB - Dante Scarpero, Jr.

QB - Donnie Savoie, Sr.

LB - Nicholas Montagut, Sr.

LT - Gabriel Alarcon, Sr.

SS - Ross Authement, Sr.

LG - Austin Breaux, Jr.

CB - Jeffrey Hall, Sr.

C - Hunter Specht, Sr.

FS - Macky Cortez, Sr.

RG - Kerry Waguespack, Sr.

CB - Sam McMahon, Jr.

RT - Luke Cali, So.







St. Charles Catholic Coach: Frank Monica (11 years) Record at School: 102-43 Career Record: 188-61

2010 Record: 12-2 (Second in District 9-2A, state semifinalist) District opponents: St. James, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, E.D. White Offense: Multiple/pro style Defense: 3-4 (odd front)

St. Charles defensive end LaJaylin Smith (91) leads an experienced and talented front seven.

L ‘Observateur





16 L ‘Observateur


West St. John Rams

Feist-led defense gives WSJ reason for Dome hopes BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

Hardened by a challenging, upper-classification heavy predistrict schedule. Anchored by a rugged, stingy defense. Powered by a strong running game. And one tough, tough out in the Class 1A playoffs. That’s West St. John football, year in, year out, in a nutshell. You can set your watch to it — it was no different in 2010. West St. John defeated rival St. James in the season opener, then dropped four games in a row against a rough upper-classification schedule.

But when district play came along, the Rams won three games convincingly and another over another district contender in St. John-Plaquemine by one touchdown. The Rams would lose twice after non-district play, both times coming at the hands of eventual state champion White Castle — once deciding district, and once in the first round of the postseason. The Rams’ defense held the very explosive Bulldogs to 12 points exactly in each of the two games, but the Rams could only muster six against a very experienced and

talented WCHS squad. But this year, the shoe could be on the other foot. White Castle brought back nearly its entire 09’ squad last year, while West St. John was in a bit of transition, especially offensively after the graduation of four-year quarterback starter Dray Joseph. This season, the Rams bring back a familiar bunch. The defense could be even better this season behind LSU-commitment Ronnie Feist. The senior linebacker has been a terror throughout his Rams’ career. Last season, he was named L’Observateur’s Defensive Player of the

Year in St. John Parish, playing the role of the team’s “enforcer,” as WSJ coach Robert Valdez calls him. Feist stands at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, and makes his home in the opposition’s backfield. In 2010, he did that to the tune of 11 sacks and 27 tackles for loss overall. “He has a tremendous will to keep improving himself. There’s been no complacency, none, with him at all,” said Valdez. “He still has things he wants to accomplish here … not many offensive lineman can withstand him for an entire game. His motor, his effort, that in and of itself can be

overwhelming when he comes at you snap after snap.” Dontre Turner is a returning starter at linebacker alongside Feist. But he’s really more of an extra boost for the Rams, as he was injured in the first game of the season last year and did not return until the playoffs. Valdez said that the Rams’ defense can potentially cause real problems for opposing teams trying to neutralize Feist, because he believes Turner will be able to take advantage. “We’re expecting tremendous things from those two,” he said. “It’s going to be

hard to block both.” Steven Brignac is another part of the core of the Rams’ front seven. He’s a returning senior starter at defensive tackle that Valdez calls “fast, versatile and athletic.” The defensive backfield should be led by junior Justin Bethancourt and seniors Lawrence Williams and Jarius Moll. Moll and Williams will play both ways. Moll will be looking to build on two strong seasons on both sides of the ball —he’s been consistently one of the Rams’ top playmakers in large part SEE RAMS, PAGE 17

L ‘Observateur


RAMS: District clash to be televised on Cox FROM PAGE 17

thanks to his knack for attacking the ball in the air and beating defensive backs or wideouts to the punch. “It’s a typical West St. John squad, You see those same faces on both sides of the field,” said Valdez. “And you’ll see nine or 10 seniors, but also a whole lot of younger kids. It’s always a mix, and the younger guys always make plays.” One of those younger guys is running back Jeremy Jackson, who will be a freshman this year but already got his feet wet in a big way

last season. Jackson got into the lineup a month into the season and took off, immediately rattling off a string of one-hundred yard rushing performances and earning All-District status. He’s also got the will to get better. “He’s loving the weight room. He’s working hard,” said Valdez. He and junior Kylum Favorite will each see time in the backfield. Handing it off will be Austin Howard, the team’s sophomore who started part of last season. Howard showed that he’s come farther

in his progression during summer 7-on-7 drills, guiding the Rams to success in multiple tournaments. “I see him improving his timing with our receivers and starting to read the defense very well. He’s taking care of the ball,” said Valdez. The Rams will again have to square off with St. John and White Castle for district supremacy. This year, one of those games comes in primetime: The Rams, for the first time in the program’s history, will be featured in the New Orleans Saints-Louisiana High School

Rams Projected Starters Offense


QB - Austin Howard, So

LB - Ronnie Feist, Sr.

HB - Jeremy Jackson, Fr.

LB - Dontre Turner, Jr.

RB - Kylum Favorite,Jr.

LB - Lawrence Williams, Sr.

WR - Jarius Moll, Sr.

LB - Kylum Favorite, Jr.

WR - Lawrence Williams, Sr.

DL - Coi Rainey, So.

WR - Austin Terry, Sr.

DL -Steven Brignac, Sr.

OL - Coi Rainey, So.

DL - Jermoine Nora, So.

OL - Willie Youngblood, Sr.

DL - Laron Washington, Jr.

OL - Dustin Sorapur, Fr.

CB - Jarius Moll, Sr.

OL - Marvin Pierre, So.

CB - Justin Bethancourt, Jr.

OL - Laron Washington, Jr.

S - Kylon Adams, So.

Athletic Association’s Prep Game of the Week on Cox Sports Television. That game will be played on Thursday, Oct. 27 as WSJ hosts St. John-Plaquemine. The last two games between the rivals have been decided by a combined total of eight points, with each team winning once. “It’s a great opportunity to show the type of football that we play here,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “It’s great exposure for the kids. And the atmosphere will be fantastic.”



WSJ Schedule Date


Aug. 26 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 27 Nov. 4

St. Charles Jamboree @ St. James vs. S. Plaquemines @ Bonnabel @ McKinley vs. O.P. Walker vs. Asc. Christian* @ Asc. Catholic* @ White Castle* vs. St. John* vs. E. Iberville*

*District games


18 L ‘Observateur


West St. John Coach: Robert Valdez (Three years)

Career Record: 24-21

District opponents: Christian Life, East Iberville, White Castle, Ascension Catholic, Ascension Christian, St. John-Plaquemine

2010 Record: 5-6 (2nd in District 8-1A, lost in bi-district)

Offense: Multiple Defense: 3-3 Stack

Record at school: 20-15







West St. John running back Jeremy Jackson took off upon his insertion into the starting lineup last season, and there might be bigger things ahead for the freshman.

Jarius Moll turns upfield against White Castle during a clash between the district foes last season. Moll is one of the area’s most dangerous players when the ball is up for grabs, no matter what side of the ball the CB/WR plays on.

L ‘Observateur




20 L ‘Observateur



L ‘Observateur




22 L ‘Observateur



L ‘Observateur




Lutcher Bulldogs

Bulldogs preparing to extend stay in postseason BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said time and time again last season that if someone had told him that his team would be where it was in Week four … in week seven … in week nine … that he’d think the person to be crazy. It wasn’t that Detillier didn’t believe in his players … you don’t boast a coaching record of 219-97 without building a belief that things will indeed work out in the end, more often than not. But despite losing one of the most productive players in school history in quarterback Gavin Webster, the Bulldogs just kept winning. A week one loss to

Dutchtown was the precursor to nine straight wins to end the regular season, and a dominating 10th win in the playoffs. But despite exceeding expectations with a young, unproven bunch, Detillier and his players went into the offseason with a bad taste in their mouth. The fourth-seeded Bulldogs were upset by No. 20 seed Teurlings Catholic on its way to the state semifinals. “Not playing to Thanksgiving week … it’s almost unacceptable here,” said Detillier. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs stadium was set on fire – arson was suspected and arrests later made – putting the Dog Yard

out of commission. But the Bulldogs are back at it this season, this time bringing back a very experienced offensive unit that will see nine 2010 starters back in action. After the events that brought a premature end to their season a year ago, “Hungry” seems to describe the Bulldogs. “We upped our offseason program. It’s been one of the toughest we’ve had,” Detillier said. “In some ways the kids were happy to see practice start because our conditioning was so tough. But everyone’s on board. We need to go deeper than two games into the postseason.” Lutcher will have to once again replace a great player after the

graduation of current LSU receiver Jarvis Landry, but the Bulldogs have no shortage of weapons. And it starts with Daniel Taylor. Taylor, the team’s explosive senior tailback, already holds the school record for career rushing yardage. Taylor has started since his eighth grade season and seems to increase his productivity every season. But for the first time, without Blaine Gauthier, without Webster and without Landry, Taylor is the team’s most recognizable talent. The roads to the endzone should still be paved for him; three of the team’s five offensive line starters are back in seniors Wayne Hymel

and Dane George and sophomore Eric Taylor. Ruston Matherne and Jared Poche split time at quarterback a year ago, and Detillier plans to play both there again. The role to be the top target of either is up in the air, however, after Trevor Englade suffered an injury in the spring. Englade was the team’s second leading receiver last season and looked to be the next go-to player. But Dorian Semien and Deamphrany Davis each started a year ago in the Bulldogs’ spread offense. “No, there is no Jarvis Landry. But we feel like we’ve got a good crop of high school receivers. We like our depth. There’s no superstar, but they

can all be dangerous at any given time.” The defensive side of the ball boasts a pair of cornerstone players in Ole Miss commitment Jordan Batiste, the team’s standout defensive back, and linebacker Blake Roussel, selected by MaxPreps to the Freshman AllAmerican second team. The defensive line is also stout, led by senior Darez Joseph and Blake Scott. The Bulldogs finished last season as district champions —surviving an inspired effort by Vandebilt Catholic to all but clinch the crown late last season – and will be the favorites to win the new District 64A. Trying to upend the Bulldogs’ best-laid SEE LHS, PAGE 25


24 L ‘Observateur


Bulldogs’ Projected Starters






WR - Dorian Semien, Sr.

DL - Darez Joseph, Sr.

WR - Deamphrany Davis , Jr.

DL - Blake Scott, Sr.

RB - Daniel Taylor, Sr.

DL - Devan Joseph, Jr.

OT - Wayne Hymel, Sr.

DL - Jacob Keller, Sr.

OG - Dane George, Sr.

DL - Blake Laiche, Sr.

C - Eric Taylor, So.

LB - Blake Roussel, So.

QB - Ruston Matherne, Jr.

LB - Londres Johnson, Sr.

Athl/QB - Jared Poche, Sr

LB - Chase Calderera, Jr. OR

OT - Toren Jackson, Sr.

DB - Jordan Batiste, Sr.

OG - Calvin Wiggins, So. OR

DB - Kyron Jackson, Sr. OR Ian

Kendall Belvin, Sr. WR/RB - Dijohn Payne, Jr. JORDAN BATISTE


Poddufalski, Sr. DB - Christopher Garon, Sr.


A starter since his eighth-grade year, Lutcher’s Daniel Taylor already owns his school’s all-time rushing record.

L ‘Observateur



LHS: Hopes for history to repeat FROM PAGE 23

plans are Broadmoor, Tara, Plaquemine, Istrouma, Belaire, and St. Michael. All offseason Lutcher has practiced while the construction of the team’s new stadium— which is expected to be ready by its first home

game with McDonogh 35 on Sept. 9 – was ongoing. Detillier said it was in a way motivating for his team to see the progress being made. Which isn’t even to speak of the ‘other’ motivation: Lutcher’s been through this before. And the last time it occurred — in

2006, the team’s fieldhouse burned down — the Bulldogs captured their fifth state championship in the ensuing season. A repeat performance would mean a very happy Thanksgiving for everyone in Lutcher. And a Merry Christmas to boot.

LHS Schedule “Not playing into Thanksgiving week, it’s almost unacceptable here ... We upped our offseason program. It’s been one of the toughest we’ve had.”



Aug. 25 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct.. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

Destrehan Jamboree @ Dutchtown vs. McDonogh No. 35 vs. Hahnville vs. Tara* vs. Broadmoor* vs. Istrouma* @ St. Michael* vs. Belaire* @ Assumption @ Plaquemine*

Tim Detillier Lutcher Football Coach

Brutus is going to have a new home in 2011, as Lutcher’s new stadium is set to debut on Sept. 9 in the team’s home opener against McDonogh No. 35.

Lutcher Coach: Tim Detillier, (19 years) Record at School: 159-73 Career Record: 219-97

2010 Record: 10-2 (District 8-4A champion, lost in regional) District opponents: Tara, Broadmoor, Istrouma, St. Michael, Belaire, Plaquemine Offense: Spread Defense: Multiple

*District games


26 L ‘Observateur


St. James Wildcats St. James’ LaRohn Cambre (pictured) and teammate Kenneth Armant figure to be one of the state’s more lethal one-two punches at running back this season for new Wildcats’ head coach James Bell, who has a wealth of experience at the collegiate and prep level. (Photo by Chris Cox)

SJH’s Bell looks to establish more diverse attack BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

St. James coach James Bell might be new to residency in the River Parishes. But in no way is the former collegiate head coach unfamiliar with what he has at his new post. Entering into a program that’s been cultivated for the last 19 seasons by coach Rick Gaille and his “Wing-T” option attack (Gaille was reassigned in May to a different position within the St. James Parish School System), Bell will open things up from what everyone has seen — that much

was clear in Thursday’s scrimmage against East St. John, as the ball was put in the air with relative frequency. But he also appreciates that his players have come up mastering a specific offense — to completely scrap it would be something of a waste. “My philosophy is to be multiple on both sides of the ball. You don’t ever want to be predictable, to let the defense crowd the line every down,” he said. “But at the same time we’re not changing everything. We’re looking to expand on what the kids have been

doing, not eliminate it. It’ll be a gradual process.” So far, Bell has been encouraged. At times last season, Gaille noted after some games that the Wildcats suffered from playing a step slow — not in terms of athleticism or ability, which the Wildcats always seem to have in large supply, but in terms of immediate understanding of what to do and where to be. He’d chalk it up to inexperience, but many of these ‘Cats are now a year older and wiser. And Bell said that if there is any hesitation,

he hasn’t seen it. “They’re very, very aggressive,” Bell said. “From day one, I’ve seen that. And we’re building on that. “Everyone on this team has been working hard and willing to commit, and that’s always the first thing you ask for as a coach. I think we have a tremendous nucleus on this team.” Maintaining that aggressiveness is ultimately one reason Bell said he looks to simplify things early on in his tenure, as opposed to putting too much on his player’s plates. Another reason is timing. Bell

was hired to replace Gaille in May, giving him precious little time to overhaul an entire system even if it were the plan. The first thing that springs to mind for many when discussing the Wildcats offense is the embarrassment of riches the team always boasts in the backfield. Again, this is the case, as a stable of experienced rushers return behind last year’s leading rusher Kenneth Armant, who ran for over 700 yards and put up an eye-popping yards per carry number at almost nine an attempt. LaRohn Cam-

bre started alongside him in the backfield last season and he also had a strong season. The Wildcats are very experienced along the offensive line, bringing back four starters — Hilton Narcisse, Jamal Cureau, Shawn Laurent and Jeremy Morton. All are seniors. Blocking for the running game is only half the battle for these guys: protecting second-year starter Shaquille Narcisse is the other mission. He’s hardly a statue though. Narcisse sparked the offense last season SEE SJH PAGE 28

L ‘Observateur




Wildcats’Projected Starters Offense


RB - Kenneth Armant, Sr.

LB – Seth Keller, Jr.

RB – LaRohn Cambre, Sr.

LB – Junius Champagne, Sr.

OL – Jamal Cureau, Sr.

DE – Jeremy Morton, Sr.

OL - Shawn Laurent, Sr.

DB – Joseph Winchester, Jr.

OL – Jeremy Morton, Sr.

DT – Jamal Cureau, Sr.

OL – Hilton Narcisse, Sr.

LB – Jerron Octave, Jr.

OL – Anthony Dupard, Sr.

LB – Dominick Hooper, Sr.

TE – Seth Keller, Jr.

S – Rashann Dennis, So.

OL – Juwan Lumar, So.

LB - Rayvonne Lawerance, So.

WR – Sanchez Zenon, Sr.

DT - Shawn Laurent, Sr.

St. James Coach: James Bell (First year) Record at School: N/A 2010 Record: 4-7 (Second, District 8-3A, lost in first round) District opponents: Brusly, Donaldsonville, St. Charles, E.D. White, Port Allen Offense: Multiple Defense: Multiple/4-3 base

Kenneth Armant led St. James in rushing a year ago, piling up over 700 yards and averaging almost nine yards per carry. (Photo by Chris Cox)








28 L ‘Observateur


ST. JAMES: Wildcats mix youth and experience in quest to make big move in Class 3A playoffs FROM PAGE 26

upon his insertion into the lineup, in large part due to his ability to turn a potential negative play into a positive one. “When you can run, pass, or pitch the option, it puts all kinds of pressure on the defense,” said Bell. “As I said, we want to be multiple. And he is ‘multiple’ as a player. He creates a lot of problems for a defense.” Defensively, Joseph Winchester will likely lead the secondary and Seth Keller the front seven, both returning

senior starters. Junius Champagne is another sideline-to-sideline stopper at linebacker, while Bell believes Keller can play both offense and defense, and that Morton could be be a key on both sides of the ball as well. “(Morton) is extremely quick,” said Bell of his 6-foot-2-inch, 246pound lineman. “He’s been doing a great job at guard, but we may need him as a guy that goes both ways.” And sophomore Rashann Dennis is a newcomer to the starting lineup. But talk of his

potential elicited a response of ‘My goodness!’ from his coach, who believes Dennis will make an impact wherever he eventually settles in the secondary, be it corner or safety. St. James will face a steady diet of top-notch foes this season, from a 1A rival in West St. John, to an expected 5A power in Destrehan, to a tremendously competitive district 7-3A slate that includes St. Charles and Donaldsonville, two teams with expectations to play deep into December. St. James has their

own high hopes after two uncharacteristic early-round losses. Teams on the horizon won’t be seeing the same Wildcats, no matter how things go. But they won’t be seeing a complete stranger, either. Nor will longtime fans if Bell gets his way. “We just want to refine what’s been established right now,” said Bell. “Aggressive play, high intensity, a team that knows how to be tough. If we can be that team, then good things will happen.”

SJH Schedule Date


Aug. 25 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

Destrehan Jamboree vs. West St. John @ Destrehan @ Patterson @ Vandebilt Cath. vs. Assumption vs. Port Allen* @ Brusly* vs. E.D. White* vs. St. Charles* @ Donaldsonville*

*District games

“We want to refine what’s been established right now. Aggressive play, high intensity, a team that knows how to be tough. If we can be that team, then good things will happen.”

JAMES BELL St. James Football Coach

Shaquille Narcisse prepares to take the snap during the team’s scrimmage with East St. John last week. (Staff photo by Ryan Arena)

L ‘Observateur





30 L ‘Observateur


Destrehan Wildcats

Photo by Scott Schexnaydre

Young Tigers ready for season to begin BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

If anything could go wrong, it seemed to for Destrehan in 2010. Only two years removed from the Wildcats’ incredible run of back-to-back undefeated championship seasons, DHS finished 3-7 and missed

the postseason for the first time in years. The final game was a microcosm of it all, a sequence that was recounted over and over during the spring by Destrehan as it reunited to prepare for the 2011 season. A win-and-get-in chance against district foe St. Amant was on

the docket in the season finale. The Gators were a team on the rise, but that nonetheless had never been able to solve the Wildcats in District 6-5A play … understandably so, given the strength of Destrehan’s program over the years. But at the end of the night, Destrehan’s run

of postseason appearances came to an end after a 39-36 loss in overtime, Britton Day’s 2-yard touchdown run sealing things for good. Given the circumstances, the end of last season would in theory then serve as a coaching tool to stir up prime motivation for the team this season.

Not necessary, said Destrehan coach Chris Stroud. “It’s the players who talk about it, the players who recall what happened at St. Amant, in overtime and in the fourth quarter … it was a game we let slip, not the first of those. And it’s something the players have taken upon

themselves and committed to rectify it.” Stroud’s first season at Destrehan saw him command a relatively inexperienced team with just 10 returning starters in an unforgiving district. But this year, Stroud commands a team that SEE DHS, PAGE 31

L ‘Observateur


DESTREHAN: Jefferson a gamebreaker FROM PAGE 30

many predict will not only return to the playoffs, but make some serious noise. And it comes down to the two most beautiful words to any prep coach’s ears: Talent and Experience. 17 starters in all return, including six Division I prospects and a number of others who will draw attention. The defense looks to be an extremely impressive unit, one that boasts seven college prospects and that some believe could end up as a peer to the suffocating ‘08 defense that keyed the team’s second consecutive 5A crown, setting championship

game records in the process. The front seven will be keyed by the Wildcats’ three-man defensive line. It figures to be a terror for opposing coaches. B.J. Singleton, Marrick Charles and Dereck Robinson are all big, nimble and very, very tough to block, while Ladell Wills anchors at nose tackle. Behind them, safety Spencer Bentley and linebacker T.J. Chopin are playmakers. Stroud calls Bentley his field general. Offensively, Dillan Dent returns at quarterback after taking over at midseason a year ago. Stroud has been pleased by Dent’s

willingness during the spring and summer to assert himself as the team’s leader. Kevin Smith and Mark Trudeaux is a dangerous 1-2 punch at tailback as well. Both will likely see lots of action, grinding out first downs and shortening games to aid the team’s domnating defense. The offensive line will also be key in that, as it

must replace three starters. But nobody on the team makes fans hold their breath quite like Rickey Jefferson, whose penchant for creating big plays resulted in an All-District sophomore season. Enough of those in 2011, and the memories of 2010 will be long forgotten ... while some others from the recent past could be stirred up.

Destrehan Coach: Chris Stroud (second year) Record at School:3-7

fourth in District 6-5A District opponents: Hahnville, East St. John, Higgins, Ehret, Bonnabel


DHS Schedule Date


Aug. 25 Sept. 2 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

Destrehan Jamboree vs. S. Lafourche vs. St. James vs. Karr @ West Jefferson vs. Dutchtown* vs. Higgins* vs. Ehret* vs. E. St. John* vs. Bonnabel* @ Hahnville*

*District games Career Record: 3-7 2010 Record: 3-7,

Offense: Multiple/Pro-Style Defense: 3-4



32 L ‘Observateur


Wildcats Projected Starters









QB – Dillan Dent, Sr.

DE – Bryan Singleton, Sr.

WR – Fermin Victor, Sr.

NT – Marrick Charles, Sr.

WR – Rickey Jefferson, Jr.

DE – Derreck Robinson, Sr.

WR – Mike Smith, So.

OLB – Gary Johnson, Jr. OR

OT – Noland Sharpe, Jr.

Raw’Juan Marbley, So.

OG – Wilmer Salvant, Sr.

ILB – T.J. Chopi, Sr.

C – Ladell Wills, Sr.

ILB – Zach Agurcia, Sr.

OF – John Reed, Sr.

OLB – Malcolm Darrensberg, So.

OT – Blair Odum, Sr.

CB - Alante Adams, Sr.

TE – Jordan Smith, Sr.

CB – Damion Armstrong, Jr.

RB – Kevin Smith, Sr.

FS – Spencer Bentley, Sr.

RB- Mark Trudeaux, Sr.

SS – Rondai Robinson, Jr.

L ‘Observateur




Hahnville Tigers

Many new faces in place for Hahnville BY RYAN ARENA L’OBSERVATEUR

Few schools can match the rich tradition of Hahnville when it comes to gridiron accomplishments. At the prep level, the landscape can change drastically from year to year, but one thing is almost always a sure bet: that the Tigers will be extremely talented and well within the Class 5A mix by season’s end. Another sure bet is that Hahnville will be ready to compete at a high level — making that so falls on the shoulders on coach Lou

Valdin and his coaching staff, and over his 12 seasons at the school his record speaks for itself: 132 wins against only 32 losses, including a state championship in 2003. This year, more preparation will be needed than usual. The Tigers lost 18 senior starters to graduation after reaching the regional round in Class 5A last season. That team was led offensively by an explosive passing game, Brian Ensminger its prolific triggerman. Ensminger is gone now, departed to play at Southeastern. For that

matter, so is Derek Howard, his top target in the passing game. Because of that, it stands to reason that Hahnville’s attack might more closely follow its methods from 2009, when running back Alfred Blue led a supercharged running attack. Valdin indicated that indeed, with junior quarterback Easton Melancon being broken in with a nearly all-new lineup around him, the running game will be leaned upon early and often. “We’ve got two upper classman at tailback who we feel good about,” said Valdin.

“Ernest Thompson and Trevor Faucheux, and our fullback Mike Ford for that matter … we need them to establish themselves in the running game while we get Easton’s feet wet.” Valdin likes Melancon’s decisionmaking thus far, as well as the mobility he brings to the table. “He’s been good,” said Valdin. “But right now we’ve got some experienced backs and a big line, so we’ll be a little more run based than we were last year.” That offensive line boasts three players that weigh 275 pounds or more, topped by 6-

foot-3, 325-pound senior Philip Ponder. It will be up to them to set the tone physically for the offense. Senior James Diggs is the units lone returning starter and will be counted on to anchor the line as one of the Tigers’ top players. The passing game does have potential, as Valdin likes what he sees from senior receivers Jaylon Bryant and Ronnie Green as well as junior Kailon Carter. Talented tight end Cody Morales should also be a reliable option. But the strength of this team today comes

on the other side of the ball. The Tigers’ secondary boasts three standouts that each share the trait of tremendous size for his position: cornerback Jerqwinick Sandolph stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 190 pounds, Tyren Hills at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and Johnell Celistan at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. Sandolph is an LSU commitment and the leader of the defense. Valdin has compared him to current NFL star and former Hahnville great LaRon Landry, noting not only SEE TIGERS, PAGE 34


34 L ‘Observateur


TIGERS: Secondary’s strength, physicality gives Hahnville options FROM PAGE 33







Sandolph’s tremendous coverage ability, but also the mean streak that he plays the game with. His teammates, Celistan and Hills, are also being recruited by Division I schools. The trio dictates a major advantage to Hahnville in that Valdin and his staff can use all assets at their disposal to stuff the running game, given the one-on-one coverage ability of his players in the defensive backfield. “They allow you to commit an extra man to the run,” he said.

“When you can play man, it opens up a lot of options for you.” With tough teams like Jesuit, Lutcher and St. Augustine occupying three of the Tigers’ first four matchups, there isn’t much time for his young bunch to soak it all in. But Hahnville will also play seven of its 10 games at home where the Tigers are always that much tougher. The tough non-district slate should also serve as a very valuable trial-byfire, win or lose, as the team’s district slate should be extremely challenging as always:

Destrehan and East St. John always combine with the Tigers for heated affairs. Ehret, Bonnabel and Higgins round out the competition in the new district 8-5A, the latter team expected to be another big 5A factor. Adapting to a complete lineup overhaul is never easy: indeed, Hahnville struggled uncharacteristically last week in a home scrimmage dominated by St. Charles. But if history is any indication — and it often is — Hahnville will have a lot to say before 2011 is done.

“We’ve got two upper classman at tailback who we feel good about. Ernest Thompson and Trevor Faucheux, and our fullback Mike Ford for that matter … we need them to establish themselves in the running game while we get Easton’s feet wet.”

Lou Valdin Hahnville Football Coach

Subscribe to L’Observateur today! Call 985-652-9545 to begin receiving the best in local sports coverage right at your front door!

L ‘Observateur




HHS Schedule Date


Aug. 25 Sept. 1 Sept. 9 Sept. 16 Sept. 23 Sept. 30 Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Oct. 21 Oct. 28 Nov. 4

Destrehan Jamboree @ Jesuit vs. Istrouma @ Lutcher vs. St. Augustine vs. McDonogh #35 vs. Bonnabel* @ East St. John* vs. Higgins* vs. Ehret* vs. Destrehan*

*District games Hahnville defensive back senior Johnell Celistan is part of what projects to be one of the best, and most physical, secondaries in the state in 2011.

Hahnville rusher Ernest Thompson will be one player the Tigers will rely on heavily to move the chains this season.

Tigers’ Projected Starters

Hahnville Coach: Lou Valdin, (12 years)



Record at School: 112-32 QB – Easton Melancon, Jr.

DL – Jamon Lathers, Sr.

RB – Ernest Thompson, Jr.

DL – Javon Murray, So.

RB – Mike Ford, Sr.

DL – Dalton Simon, Sr.

WR – Ronnie Greene, Sr.

DL – Robert Lay, Jr

WR – Jaylon Bryant, Sr.

LB – Sergio Medina, Jr.

TE – Cody Morales, Jr.

LB – Gabe Taylor, Jr.

OL – James Diggs, Jr.

LB – Logan Gonzales, Jr.

OL – Philip Ponder, Sr.

SS – Anthony Mott, Sr.

OL – Hunter Perrin, So.

DB – Jerqwinick Sandolph, Sr.

OL – Thomas Jones, Sr.

DB – Tyren Hills, Sr.

OL – Truston Jones, Sr.

DB – Johnell Celestan, Sr.

Career Record: 132-45

2010 Record: 7-4 (Third place District 6-5A, lost in regional) District opponents: East St. John, Destrehan, Higgins, Ehret, Bonnabel Offense: Multiple Defense: Double Eagle Flex

36 L ‘Observateur



LSU Tigers BATON ROUGE -- For the fifth time in head coach Les Miles' sevenyear tenure, the LSU Football team was ranked in the Top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25. Miles' Tigers were voted No. 4 by a panel of national writers after coming it at No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll. LSU received one first-place vote. LSU opens the 2011 season on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. CT when it faces No. 3 Oregon in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. A school-record 37,000 tickets were distributed to LSU season ticket holders for the neutralsite game. ESPN College GameDay will be on-site at Cowboys Stadium from 8-11 a.m. as the national spotlight will be on the Tigers and Ducks. It will mark the 15th time LSU has been a part of the ESPN-featured game, most recently last year's season-opener against North Carolina in the Chickfil-A College Kickoff. ••••• The LSU offense combined for 420 total yards and the defense came up with a variety of big plays as the Tigers broke camp with its second full scale scrimmage indoors at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility Thursday. "We had an extended

go and I thought we had a number of guys that had big days," LSU coach Les Miles said following the scrimmage. "Offensively, I thought we threw it pretty well and did a nice job of running the football. Defensively, we made some big plays especially from the line, which I thought did very well. "Overall, we are ways away from playing a game. We improved and had the opportunity to do a lot of different things and see a lot of situations. All in all, it was a good day of work for us.” Miles said that the Tigers went through about 130 snaps during the workout with 30 of those focusing on special teams. The scrimmage saw the Tigers spend time moving the field, as well as working on different situations, including the redzone, two-minute drill and tight zone. The offense accounted for 270 passing yards and another 150 yards on the ground. Offensively, senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson connected on 15 of 25 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown running with the No. 1 offense. Senior quarterback Jarrett Lee spent time with both the No. 1 and No. 2 offense and he combined to complete 9 of 14 passes for 111 yards. Sophomore Zach Mettenberger connected on 6 of 11 passes for

71 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On the ground, Michael Ford statistically had the best day, rushing for 65 yards on 11 carries, while Spencer Ware accounted for nearly 50 yards on 10 attempts. Junior Rueben Randle and sophomore James Wright were the top receivers for the Tigers, each catching five balls. Wright's five receptions went for 80 yards, which included an acrobatic catch over a defender down to the 1-yard line that would have setup a score during the two-minute drill. Randle's receptions went for 37 yards. LSU coach Les Miles directs two of his players at a mid-August practice. LSU On defense, safety opens the season on Sept. 3 against Oregon. (Photo and story from Craig Loston stood out as he recorded six tackles to go with an interception inside the 10yard line that halted a drive. Brandon Taylor added five tackles and a sack, while Michael Brockers had a sack Sept. 3 - vs. Oregon @ Oct. 8 - vs. Florida and three tackles for Cowboys Stadium losses. (Arlington, Texas) Oct. 15 @ Tennessee Other defensive standouts included linebacker Karnell Hatcher Sept. 10 - vs. Northwestern St. Oct. 22 - vs. Auburn with a pair of pass breakups, cornerback Sept. 15 - @ Missisippi St. Nov. 5 - @ Alabama Ron Brooks with an interception, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu Sept. 24 - @ West Virginia, Nov. 12 - vs. Western Kentucky with five tackles and defensive end Sam Montgomery with a Oct. 1 - vs. Kentucky, TBA Nov. 19 - @ Ole Miss sack and a couple of tackles. Nov. 25 - vs. Arkansas "I think we were crisper in all phases," Miles said of the improvement since the first scrimmage.

LSU Tigers Schedule 2011

L ‘Observateur




Tulane Green Wave NEW ORLEANS – Tulane's football team began the third and final week of Fall Camp on Monday with a pair of practices to prepare for the upcoming season that gets underway Sept. 3 against Southeastern Louisiana in the Louisiana Superdome. The day began with a 24-period practice at the Saints Practice Facility in full pads. "It went well in the Saints facility this working. We actually ended early because the tempo was so good," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "We went through our script and finish one period ahead of time. There has been pretty good focus, pretty good attention to detail and pretty effort. Now we are starting to get a couple players back and hopefully in another week, week and a half, we will be ready to go." The Green Wave spent the afternoon practice outside at the Westfeldt Facility for 18 periods of work in shells and began to turn some attention to the SLU Lions. "We have started a little bit on (Southeastern Louisiana)," Toledo said. "I don't like to do a whole bunch this early because you can kind of get stale, but you have to do enough to wet their appetite. We will do a little bit every day. We don't have to put the whole game-plan in because we have two

weeks." Tulane formally kicks off the 2011 season on Saturday, Sept. 3, when the Green Wave play host to Southeastern Louisiana at 2:30 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome. ***** The Tulane football team wrapped up its second week of preseason camp with a 76-play scrimmage Saturday at the Westfeldt Practice Facility and it was the Green Wave defense that continued to shine with 10 stops for lost yardage, five sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Tulane worked at the Superdome for a little over two hours and returned to its campus facility for the second practice of the day. The Green Wave offense reached the end zone twice on the afternoon thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from senior Albert Williams and freshman Dante Butler. Sophomore kickers Cairo Santos and Ryan Rome combined for a pair of field goals. Santos booted his first attempt from 47 yards, while Rome was true from 52 yards. Santos later missed a 52-yard attempt that was wide right. Offensively, junior quarterback Ryan Griffin led the signal callers with an 8-of-17 effort for 74 yards, while back-up and classmate D.J. Pon-

der finished 3-of-9 for 56 yards. Senior Joe Kemp seemed to be the go-to guy today, hauling in five receptions for 53 yards and also had the longest reception of the day with a 26-yard strike from Griffin. On the day, TU's passing attack totaled 162 yards and averaged 12.5 yards per play. The rushing game was held up by the Tulane defense, averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. Williams led the way with 31 yards and a score on eight carries, while freshman Robert Kelley received the bulk of the carries, 11 for 25 yards. Defensively, TU's defensive line along accounted for 6.5 stops for lost yardage, including four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Sophomore cornerback Derrick Strozier tallied a team-best six tackles. Sophomores Zach Davis, Shane Delery and Kyle Davis each came up with five stops and freshman Michael Pierce, Jr., was credited with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Senior Cedric Wilson scooped up a loose carom and returned it 28 yards before being brought down. "It went well," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "Everybody got an opportunity and that is what we've been trying to do for two weeks now”.

Tulane will attempt to improve on a 2010 season in which it went 4-8. The Green Wave begins play Sept. 3 at home against Southeastern. (Story from

Tulane Green Wave 2011 Schedule Sept. 3 - vs. Southeastern

Oct. 22 - vs. Memphis

Sept. 10 - vs. Tulsa

Oct. 29 - @ East Carolina

Sept. 17 - @ UAB

Nov. 5 - @ SMU

Sept. 24 - @ Duke

Nov. 10 - vs. Houston

Oct. 1 - @ Army

Nov. 19 - @ Rice

Oct. 8 - vs. Syracuse

Nov. 26 - @ Hawaii

Oct. 15 - vs. UTEP


38 L ‘Observateur


New Orleans Saints Preseason Recaps

The Saints and coach Sean Payton, only a year removed from winning the Super Bowl, are a trendy pick to return there once again in 2011.

New Orleans Saints 2011 Schedule Sept. 8 @ Green Bay

Nov. 6 vs. Tampa Bay

Sept. 18 vs Chicago

Nov. 13 @ Atlanta

Sept. 25 vs. Houston

Nov. 28 vs. New York Giants

Oct. 2 @ Jacksonville

Dec. 13 vs. Detroit

Oct. 9 @ Carolina

Dec. 11 @ Tennessee

Oct. 16 @ Tampa Bay

Dec. 18 @ Minnesota

Oct. 23 vs. Indianapolis

Dec. 26 vs. Atlanta

Oct. 30 @ St. Louis

Jan. 1 vs. Carolina

The Saints fell to the Texans 27-14 Saturday Night at Reliant Stadium. Saturday night’s game puts the Texans preseason record at 2-0 and drops the Saints preseason record to 1-1. The highlight for the Saints was rookies RB Mark Ingram and WR Joseph Morgan scoring touchdowns for the second straight week. QB Drew Brees completed 7-14 for 109 yards. Daniel went 7-14 for 127 yards with a touchdown and interception. QB Sean Canfield took over in the fourth quarter and finished the game 4-8 for 50 yards. RB Pierre Thomas led the Saints in rushing with 33 yards on six carries. Ingram had another solid performance as he notched 25 yards on seven carries, including a one-yard touchdown run. RB Daren Sproles chipped in with three carries for 24 yards. TE Jimmy Graham, WR Lance Moore, WR Montez Billings and WR Adrian Arrington each had two receptions. DB Jabari Greer led the Saints defense with six total tackles. "We are not a finished product and we have a long way to go," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "We are going to have to gain something from (tonight). We have to look at it closely and recognize that we are not just going to be able to roll

the ball out there to play and play well. There are a lot of things that go into playing successful football and certainly we didn't do that tonight." •••••• With the end zone a few strides away, Mark Ingram exhibited the explosive, tackle-breaking form that defined his Heisman Trophy career at Alabama. Ingram highlighted his NFL debut with a 14-yard touchdown run on which he bounced off a defender and spun to keep his balance, and the New Orleans Saints rolled to a 24-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason opener for both teams on Aug. 12. “Just being able to get in the end zone for the first time being an NFL player is special for me,” said Ingram, who carried six times for 23 yards. “I just have to thank the line for blocking great. That’s what really allowed me to get in. All I had to do was make one guy miss.” While Ingram’s run helped him match the hype that comes with being a first-round draft choice, another rookie with far less pedigree had the most spectacular play of the night. Joseph Morgan, a little known prospect who was undrafted out of Walsh University, scored on a 78-yard

punt return during which he made one tackler miss with a spin move, slipped two other tackles as he made his way outside and then cut back across the field with breakaway speed. “I really didn’t think I was going to score at first,” Morgan said. “After I got out to the (edge), the first thing I saw was the kicker, and they tell you if the kicker tackles you, don’t even go back” to the bench. David Akers hit a 59yard field goal for San Francisco, a kick set up by rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 28yard scramble late in the first half. Starters played less than a quarter, and defense dominated during that scoreless stint. The game also marked the NFL head coaching debut of former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. The Saints blitzed relentlessly and had six sacks in the first half. “We had some errors in protection,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve got to make them pay for that. We didn’t capitalize on any of those opportunities. Therefore, they kept doing it.” The Niners did not get a first down on their first four series, three of which were thwarted by hits on Smith. Will Smith had a sack and had another hit that caused an errant pass. Roman Harper had a sack and strip on

L ‘Observateur




40 L ‘Observateur



Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.