Parkview Baptist would love nothing more than to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the school’s first state championship with something even more memorable.
The Eagles’ 61-19 demolition of Belle Chasse in 2001 sparked a decade of excellence that’s included subsequent state titles over Westlake in 2007 and against Patterson in 2010.
What Parkview hasn’t managed to do during its illustrious run of four overall trips to the Superdome Classic has been to claim state championships in consecutive seasons - an objective this year’s club has taken to heart.
“Each group wants to leave a legacy,” said Guillot, who is 134-24 entering his 12th season at Parkview. “Last year’s class won the state championship and played for another one (lost to Notre Dame in 2009). It’s the goal of these guys to win it back to back. That would be something we’ve never done.”
To do that Parkview will have to navigate through a treacherous nondistrict schedule against the likes of Mandeville, East St. John and Catholic High and a new league (District 6-3A replaces 7-3A) that welcomes a couple of news faces in East Feliciana and Glen Oaks after Redemptorist and Northeast both dropped to Class 2A.
West Feliciana, which came tantalizingly close to giving the district two teams in the final a year ago, returns along with Baker.
The coaches believe that were won’t be any change at the top with Parkview Baptist getting top billing followed by West Feliciana and East Feliciana, a semifinalist in Class 2A last year.
“There are five, good quality teams so every week it’s going to be like the SEC and you’re going to have to go out and play,” East Feliciana coach Cedric Anderson said.
The return of Class 3A Defensive MVP Tom Bove (6-0, 270, Sr.) is a cause for optimism for a Parkview defense which returns seven starters. Bove, a Wofford commitment, had 47 tackles, 12 stops for losses and 11 sacks a year ago. Seniors Brody Burkhalter (6-2, 220) at linebacker and Josh Perkins (6-1, 215) are also back.
Senior fullback Brandon Johnson (6-1, 235), 152 carries for 990 yards and eight touchdowns, is one of four returnees on offense along with quarterback Brennan Bozeman.
No coach has a greater rebuilding job than West Feliciana’s Robb Odom, who must replace 24 seniors from the school’s most successful team. The Saints came within 92 seconds of advancing to their first state final; first suffering a fumble and later surrendering a late touchdown and two-point conversion in a 22-21 semifinal loss at Patterson.
“I always wanted it but getting that close makes you want it a little more,” Odom said. “It hurt real bad but that’s part of it. It’s always going to hurt to get over it.”
Senior running back/linebacker Preston Cobb (6-0, 190) represents two starting positions for a team that has a total of four returning starters - three of which are on the offensive side.
Running back Javon Emery (5-8, 190, Jr.) and tackle Deandre Banford (6-1, 200, Sr.) are back on offense while the defense has three projected sophomores in the starting lineup and a freshman that could start.
In its first season as a consolidated school East Feliciana (Clinton and Jackson) won its first 12 games before bowing out to state power John Curtis, 40-8.
The Tigers have the greatest number of returning starters in the district with 15 almost evenly distributed among defense (eight) and offense (seven). The highest profiled player back will be junior quarterback Kendell Beckwith (6-3, 225), a first team Class 2A All-Stater, after passing for 1,582 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 863 yards and 15 scores on the ground.
Three of five offensive linemen will also be back with senior all-district performer Freddie Walker (6-3, 260) and junior all-district selection Chris Young (6-3, 270). The Tigers will also have their leading returning tackler on hand ? senior Wando Stampley (6-1, 190) ? to key a defense that also returns all of their interior front paced by senior tackle Chris Matthews (5-9, 220).
A continuing theme follows Glen Oaks from 4A where they will suit up between 26 to 27 players. The good news for the Panthers one them is returning 1,000-yard rusher Johnta Hebert (5-10, 195, Sr.) while they will have six starters back on defense - five of which are seniors - led by senior cornerback Corey Washington (6-0, 210).
“When we get off the bus it’s one little bus but people realize it’s not going to be an easy thing,” Glen Oaks coach Landry Williams said. “They’ve got to play to beat us.”
Baker’s second-year coach Robert Raines is hoping the return of leading rusher Kensley Septs can help remedy a 3-7 mark.
Septs (6-1, 250, Sr.) carried 180 times for 747 yards and five touchdowns while speedy backfield mate Michael Gosserand (5-10, 165, Jr.) added 462 yards on 77 attempts. Senior Brenton Tolliver (5-10, 155), a first team all-district punt returner, is one three starters back on defense where he led the Buffaloes with five interceptions.
“Our Wing-T offense is in its second year and should be greatly improved,” Raines said.