NEW IBERIA — Brent Indest isn’t purposely vague when it comes to discussions about the best quarterback he’s ever coached.
Look no further, Indest said, than the guy he’s coached at Catholic-New Iberia the past two seasons.
You can measure the rest against Jason Pellerin, said Indest.
Pellerin, a senior who will quarterback the Panthers on Friday when Catholic-NI meets Calvary Baptist in a Division III select state championship game, has the skill essentials, statistics and what coaches call the intangibles, Indest said.
But Indest said there’s more to it than that.
“It’s not often you find a guy whose 6-foot-5, weighs 225 pounds, bench presses over 400 pounds and runs a 4.6 in the 40,” Indest said. “That’s the first thing coaches talk about, which is (Pellerin’s) sheer physicality.”
Indest said Pellerin, who announced before the start of the season that he was committing to Ole Miss, is a quarterback who always shows up as advertised.
“Jason is a guy who runs as well as he throws,” Indest said. “No one works harder both in the weight room and on the field and yet there is no one that is more humble about his accomplishments.”
Last season, when the Panthers finished 9-3 and reached the semifinals, Pellerin was responsible for 43 touchdowns, 1,917 passing yards and 750 rushing.
Pellerin has thrown for 1,068 and run for another 1,072 in the Panthers Wing T offense this season. He said some might think the Wing-T is an archaic formation that limits a quarterback’s creativity. That concept is all wrong, he said.
“It’s a very disciplined offense,” Pellerin said. “You can pound the ball or you can throw it in the Wing T. In our offense, we have a lot of weapons available, and we have our offensive line working along with the rest of us.
“If you try to take away one thing from our offense, it just opens up another possibility.”
Pellerin said his job is made easier having running backs Andre Bellefontaine (1,474 yards rushing) and Seth Pierre (1,207) at running backs.
“Those guys are hard to bring down,” Pellerin said. “You stop one, and then you have to face the other guy. If you try to stop both, we can throw it.”
Opelousas Catholic football coach Dane Charpentier, whose team finished second to Catholic High in District 5-2A this year, said he was impressed with what Pellerin has done this season.
“You look at (Pellerin) and you see a player who is a very special athlete,” Charpentier said. (Pellerin) has the size and speed combination and he’s also strong and then he’s great in the weight room.
“I watched him several times in person this year, and what impressed me is what a tough competitor he is. When he has to make a play, he can do it. You don’t find too many players who can do that.”
Indest said the Panthers’ penchant for getting different players involved in the offense has probably hurt Pellerin statistically.
“If we put the focus just on him, Jason would be putting up all-world numbers,” Indest said. “What he does in our offense also allows (Bellefontaine) and (Pierre) to be effective. And then as a runner, Jason can be just as effective as throwing the ball.”
With that type of distribution among so many players, Indest said the numbers Pellerin has generated as an offensive presence is “just over the top.”
Pellerin said the Panthers were running a different offense the year before Indest arrived at Catholic High.
He and his teammates, Pellerin said, were a bit shocked at Indest’s demeanor when he confronted the Panthers during introductions.
“I remember him coming in, introducing himself to us and telling us very bluntly that we were going to win a lot of games here,” Pellerin said.
“What (Indest) has brought us mainly is a lot of discipline and to be honest, we were all a little shocked. He demanded respect, and he showed that he wasn’t playing around.”
Two years into the Indest era at Catholic High, Pellerin said the coach has delivered on his promise.
“What he’s shown to me is he is a wise coach who knows what he’s doing,” Pellerin said.
Pellerin said he remains firm on his commitment to attend Ole Miss.
“I just like everything about them, playing in the SEC and having a coaching staff that I really like,” he said. “The coaches who are there now have done a great job and (Ole Miss) is a great place to go to school, along with having a beautiful campus.
Pellerin quarterbacked the Panthers last season when they lost to Calvary Baptist (34-33) in the semifinals.
Defensively Pellerin said Calvary Baptist hasn’t changed its scheme significantly.
“From what I have seen, they have a different team than last year,” Pellerin said. “You know they are always going to be talented on defense, and we’re going to have to have a good game plan to beat them.”