Consider this scenario. Thirteen or 14 players are returning from last years’ Ascension Catholic High School team. Four of the returners have been four-year players. In those numbers are two with All-District and one with All-State accolades, one on offense and one on defense. Two years of confidence and skill building under the direction of a head coach that was an All-American player for the LSU Tigers.
If that’s not enough, the Bulldogs coach played with the Miami Dolphins in the AFL for four years. Along the road, he served as head coach and offensive coordinator for St. Amant High School, which includes several district championships and playoff appearances and a 1982 Winnfield team that beat John Curtis for the Class 2A state championship.
Coach Doug Moreau returned to the sidelines in 2012 as a head coach and athletic director with the Ascension Catholic High School with a 176-91-3 record as a high school football coach. And Moreau returned with the fire still burning with his enthusiasm for his kids and their football team.
Things this year weren’t without some challenges.
“We had some injuries that slowed us down early on and a couple of academic players that we had to wait out, but our pre-season practices went good,” Moreau said. “We are in very good physical shape, but what could turn it up a notch is getting in pads and getting a lot more done.”
Every team usually loses some leadership, and this one is no different. Two starting linebackers graduated that will leave a gap in leadership were All-District Sam Mattingly and Kenneth Dominic. D. J. Latino, a two-year starter who’s playing for Louisiana College, leaves a gap in the quarterback spot that will be a very key role to fill this fall.
There are some key young players that Moreau believes have the ability to step up.
“Falcon Mire, an All-District tackle last year has moved over the play center for us this season and has started since his freshman year. He’s a senior this year and brings stabilization to our offensive front,” Moreau said.
Dee Landry is another player on the offensive line who has stepped up as a leader, as well.
On the offensive side of the ball, Moreau said “Patrick Butler is a wingback/fullback that is sort of quiet but a very consistent performer. He does everything full speed and does it hard, which sets a good example for the rest of the team.”
The loss of last years’ quarterback has created a competition between two players, junior D. C. Mattingly and sophomore Jevon Yarbrough.
“These two guys have been neck and neck to win the position. As of now, I haven’t chosen a starter, but we’ll use the film from the jamboree to see how they handle the pressure,” Moreau added. “Both players have the tools to do the job, but it will come down to the generalship needed to lead on the field.”
Always the optimist, Moreau likes the Bulldogs chances this year.
“I want us to be all we can be, whatever that is. We have a returning All-State defensive end in Delmond Landry who’s 30 pounds heavier and faster than last year. At 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, that turns in a 4.8 40 that can play tight end as well, that’s a boost. Jacob Caballaro, a linebacker is another guy who will help us on the defense. That’s where we need the most improvement.”
After two years of earning the respect of the teams the Bulldogs competed against, things may be coming together for the “Perfect Storm”.
Ascension Catholic High School is a team to watch for the 2014 season.
Jamborees kick off season
Well, if you’re a high school football fan, the time is here. Jamborees for our Ascension Parish teams start this weekend. Here’s a lineup of the parish teams and who their opponents are:
Dutchtown Griffins host Walker High on Thursday, Aug. 28, at home.
On Thursday night, Aug. 28, the Donaldsonville Tigers will compete against the St. James Wildcats at home beginning at 7 p.m.
Ascension Christian takes part in the Ecole Classic in Metairie on Friday. The Lions will take on Ridgewood and Ecole; starting time is 6 p.m.
The ACHS Bulldogs will take on Houma Christian with a home field advantage at 7 p.m. Friday night. Three games are on tap with freshman, junior varsity and varsity competitions.
Parish rivals, the East Ascension Spartans and the St. Amant Gators will take part in LeBlanc’s Gator Jamboree on Friday at Dutchtown High School. Three games are on tap as freshman, JV and varsity games will take place.