District 5-4A Louisiana high school football preview: Cecilia’s Raymond Calais bound to break out -- again _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Cecilia's Raymond Calais

CECILIA — It’s not exactly classified information as to what the Cecilia Bulldogs plan to do on offense.

Coach Terry Martin acknowledged he knows opposing defenses will devote a healthy portion of preparation to senior running back Raymond Calais.

“He had 2,200 yards last year,” Martin said. “Defenses focused on him last year. Everybody knew what we had in Raymond last year, and this year will be no different.”

Martin said Calais is being heavily recruited, and his “special” abilities allow the Bulldogs to try some things they wouldn’t normally be able to do.

“He gets more carries because he allows us to go with a single back,” Martin said. “That isn’t something we normally do at Cecilia. We do things we don’t normally do with Raymond, and we’re doing some things we won’t be able to do next year.”

What some aren’t accounting for, Martin suggested, is the Bulldogs’ passing game. They return quarterback Landon Roberts and wide receiver Damien Bernard, both seniors. Martin said the passing game was as good as he has had last year, and the team’s ability to stretch the field is what really allows Calais to flourish.

“Landon threw for more yards than I’ve ever had,” Martin said. “Damien is going to Southeastern Louisiana on a track scholarship; he can really get down the field. That really opens it up for Raymond.

“We have a few four-year starters that have been playing since they were young kids, but now they’re seniors. It’s no secret that our record took a downward spiral the last few years, but we have a lot of people expecting good things out of us this year — and rightfully so.”

Martin said he is concerned with depth — specifically on the offensive line. Not long after the spring game, the Bulldogs had two starters quit and lost another for two months after a four-wheeler accident. Martin said the fill-ins look good, but injuries are a concern.

“We’re down to five guys who are physically ready to play,” Martin said. “They’ve done well and they look good, but if any one of those guys goes down, we’re in trouble. We haven’t (practiced) first team vs. first team until (the middle of August) because I’m so scared of someone getting hurt.”

Martin said the plan is to take some defensive linemen and at least teach them the basic protection and blocking in case the Bulldogs get in a bind. Despite the early-season adversity, Martin said his team is oblivious to those concerns.

“They’re going at it full-speed trying to kill each other,” Martin said. “I wish they’d take it a little more serious. I’m having a hard time helping them to understand that we really need to be careful. They all think they’re bulletproof.”

The Bulldogs are out of the St. Thomas More, Northside and Teurlings district that has haunted them for years. They find themselves right in the middle of a thick St. Martin Parish rivalry with St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge.

The rivalry has always been rich, but 2015 has all three programs fielding competitive teams — with Cecilia having the best player in Calais.

“Raymond is a quiet kid with a good background,” Martin said. “He’s well grounded and very spiritual. They don’t come around like that very often. ...

“Even though our district schedule isn’t as tough, we are still playing a tough out-of-district (schedule) with Comeaux, Crowley, Lafayette High and Northside. You won’t go through a whole season without having a few injuries, and that will be the key for us.”

TEAM CAPSULES

Abbeville Wildcats

Coach: Chris Towery

2014: 1-10, 1-5

Looking back: The long road to rebuilding took a major step forward with the Wildcats winning their season-ending game at West St. Mary.

Moving forward: Towery will look to build heavily on that victory.

Ask The Advocate: They won’t have the talent to contend, but the Wildcats may play spoiler a time or two.

Schedule

Sept. 4 at Kaplan

Sept. 11 Berwick

Sept. 18 at Welsh

Sept. 25 South Plaquemines

Oct. 2 at North Vermilion

Oct. 9 at Cecilia#

Oct. 16 Breaux Bridge#

Oct. 23 St. Martinville#

Oct. 30 White Castle

Nov. 6 at Westgate#

Breaux Bridge Tigers

Coach: Paul Broussard

2014: 7-4, 4-2

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Neville in second round)

Looking back: The Tigers were not as potent as they have been in years past.

Moving forward: Breaux Bridge will field one of the toughest defenses in the state.

Ask The Advocate: The perennial favorite in St. Martin Parish, Breaux Bridge may take a step back in 2015, but it’ll still be in the picture.

Schedule

Sept. 4 New Iberia

Sept. 11 Notre Dame

Sept. 18 at Rayne

Sept. 24 Teurlings Catholic

Oct. 2 at Carencro

Oct. 8 St. Martinville#

Oct. 16 at Abbeville#

Oct. 23 Westgate#

Oct. 30 at Cecilia#

Cecilia Bulldogs

Coach: Terry Martin

2014: 4-7, 3-3

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Landry-Walker in first round)

Looking back: The Bulldogs lost more than they won last season despite fielding the best player in the district.

Moving forward: Cecilia is moving up and will use a balanced attack to be successful.

Ask The Advocate: It’ll be for only one year, but Cecilia will have a magical run behind star RB Raymond Calais in 2015.

Schedule

Sept. 4 Comeaux

Sept. 11 at Northside

Sept. 18 Crowley

Sept. 25 at St. Louis

Oct. 2 at Lafayette

Oct. 9 Abbeville#

Oct. 16 at Westgate#

Oct. 23 at New Iberia

Oct. 30 Breaux Bridge#

Nov. 6 at St. Martinville#

St. Martinville Tigers

Coach: Vince Derouen

2014: 1-9, 0-6

Last playoff appearance: 2012 (lost to LaGrange in second round)

Looking back: The Tigers had nothing offensively or defensively to compete last season.

Moving forward: New coach Derouen has rejuvenated the fan base and looks to get the program back on track.

Ask The Advocate: The Tigers could struggle again, but it won’t be as bad as 2014.

Schedule

Sept. 5 Jeanerette

Sept. 11 Assumption

Sept. 17 Eunice

Sept. 25 at Opelousas

Oct. 2 at Ellender

Oct. 8 at Breaux Bridge#

Oct. 16 Comeaux

Oct. 23 at Abbeville#

Oct. 30 Westgate#

Nov. 6 Cecilia#

Westgate Tigers

Coach: Ryan Antoine

2014: 3-7, 1-5

Last playoff appearance: 2013 (lost to Neville in second round)

Looking back: Westgate struggled in a much tougher district than it’ll be in this season.

Moving forward: The Tigers will have plenty of athleticism and speed.

Ask The Advocate: Their record may improve by a couple of wins, but don’t expect the Tigers to contend.

Schedule

Sept. 4 at Carencro

Sept. 11 at Comeaux

Sept. 18 New Iberia

Sept. 25 LaGrange

Oct. 2 at Northside

Oct. 9 Bourgeois

Oct. 16 Cecilia#

Oct. 23 at Breaux Bridge#

Oct. 30 at St. Martinville#

Nov. 6 Abbeville#

# — district game