When asked recently which West Feliciana Saints football players have made the biggest impression on him so far this season, head coach Robb Odom thought about the question and rattled off the obvious names of a few guys who immediately popped into his mind.
Then he thought for a second and said, “And we have this one guy; he never misses a practice, he’s on time, he plays on the scout squad running the other team’s plays, he lifts (weights) with the rest of the team, he watches film — he does everything we ask him and he hasn’t played one down in a game because he has to sit out this year,” Odom said. “He has one of the best attitudes on the team.”
The player is Ricky Chatman Jr., a 6-1, 210-pound junior who transferred to West Feliciana this year after two years at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. Because of Louisiana High School Athletic Association transfer rules, Chatman must sit out this year. He will be eligible to play as a senior.
Chatman played defensive and offensive lineman for two years at Catholic and said he saw some game action. He likely will play linebacker next year for West Feliciana.
“I’m anxious to get him out there,” Odom said. “He could start for us right now. We could use him.”
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Chatman’s father, Ricky Chatman Sr., was a standout linebacker for the LSU Tigers during the early 1980s. He briefly played in the NFL and is currently the president for football of the LSU National “L” Club. The elder Chapman is also the alternative school coordinator in the West Feliciana Parish school system.
Switching schools hasn’t been too hard of an adjustment for the younger Chatman. He likes West Feliciana’s relaxed environment.
“It’s been good for me as a student and as a player,” Chatman said. “I focus on school and try to do anything I can to help the team and do what the coaches tell me.”
Chatman said he listens intently when he receives advice from his father.
“He tells me to concentrate on school a lot and make good grades,” Chatman said. “For football, he said to be the best, you’ve got to do more than anyone else does.”
Chatman said he hopes to earn a scholarship and play college football and like most players his age, one day make it to the NFL.
“I’m going to try to do my best next year and focus on playing linebacker,” Chatman said.
“I hope his attitude rubs off on some of the other kids,” Odom said.
“He has been a great addition to our football team and it’s a shame he can’t play this year.”
West Feliciana is coming off a 23-6 nondistrict victory over previously unbeaten Kentwood (4-1) last week. Quarterback Ryan Reed rushed for 119 yards including a 45-yard TD scamper to help the Saints improve to 4-1 overall. Steven Franks added 65 yards for West Feliciana and scored on runs of 14 and 11 yards.
The Saints return to District 7-3A action Friday at Glen Oaks.
East Feliciana rolls by Wolves
The Tigers improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in District 6-2A with a 30-8 win over Redemptorist. The Tigers built a 16-point halftime lead on a 9-yard TD pass from Kevon Moore to Tyquincey Kilbourne and a 2-yard TD run by Christopher Cheney. East Feliciana added another score with Moore’s TD pass to Timothy Thompson before the Wolves’ only score in the third quarter. Kilbourne closed out the scoring with an 8-yard fumble return on defense in the fourth.
East Feliciana will travel to Episcopal to play the undefeated Knights (4-0) in a district matchup on Friday.
WF runners compete at SJA meet
West Feliciana’s girls were 25th at the St. Joseph’s Academy cross country meet held over the weekend at Highland Road Park.
The middle school boys finished seventh and the middle school girls were eighth in the 10-team meet.
The Saints will compete in the Catholic High Invitational at Highland Road Park on Saturday.
St. Helena Central falls, 17-12
St. Helena Central dropped to 0-5 for the season and 0-1 in District 7-2A with a 17-12 loss at Springfield. The Hawks will try to regroup Friday when they host Northlake Christian, of Covington, in a nonconference contest.
Howard Arceneaux covers sports for The Advocate Extra and can be reached at email@example.com.