There’s a bit of business St. Amant football coach David Oliver hopes to take care of this season — a stat that he wants correct.

“This may come as a surprise to some folks but St. Amant has never won a playoff game away from the Pit,” coach David Oliver said. “But we want to end that this football season.”

The Gators finished second (6-4, 3-2) in District 5-5A competition last season but not exactly in the fashion they were hoping.

“Some parts of the season we underachieved and other parts we played we like expected. We had a competitive non-district run and came out with a winning record, then hit a little lull in the middle of the season,” Oliver said.. “I thought we could have competed more against John Ehret, McKinley and Catholic, then it turned around and we played East Ascension, Woodlawn and Dutchtown like we should have and finished second in district. It’s hard to look at that as a negative.,” Oliver said.

This year, the expectations are high again.

“We’ve played the 11th game for three years running as the 17th or 18th seed in the playoffs and just missing that home game so we’d like to make it to week 12 this year,” Oliver said.

The Gators’ goal is to make the playoffs again this year.

“That’s a pretty respectable goal to achieve as we have a somewhat young team this year. We usually have 36 or so seniors on the team but we’ll only have 19 this year,” Oliver said.

The team will have to rely on lots of junior leadership: The roster will have 55 in the junior class and some of them will have to step up quickly. “We have the potential in our young players but most of them have not been tested on Friday night on the field,” the coach said.

One of the junior classmen who will make an impact is Briggs Bourgeois, a returning kicker who hit 33 out of 33 extra points and four of five field goals. In his role as a wide receiver, Bourgeois caught six touchdown passes — accomplishing all this as a sophomore. The starting quarterback will be another junior, Hayden Mallory, who will lead the spread offense and get the chance to prove himself on Friday night as he sat behind second-team all-district quarterback Tyler Dixon.

One of the returning starters on the offense to keep an eye on is senior running back Nathan Taylor, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry with 620 total rushing yards that earned him an all-district spot as a junior. On the defensive side of the ball, returning starters at the defensive ends are senior Elliot Turner and junior Garett Stephens, who will step up to lead the 3-4 defense.

“We have eight returning starters on offense, which is pretty good, but only three on defense. We have a lot of good young players that will make an impact from the start and we look forward to taking the field at the Pit on Friday nights,” Oliver said.

Kids Fishing Rodeo

The East Ascension Sportsman’s League (EASL) is holding its premier event on Aug. 1 1 at Twin Lakes Park in Dutchtown (where La. 74 crosses I-10). The 55th annual Kids Fishing Rodeo is not only the highlight of the year for the well known conservation group, it’s a highlight for our area.

The event is free to ages 2 through 14. Everyone is invited and parents or adults who bring kids do not have to be EASL members for their kids to fish. The look of excitement on the faces of kids as they register is worth the price of admission.

Shrieks of excitement will be heard all around the two ponds as children catch their first fish ever. If someone ever took you fishing or a trip to the outdoors when you were a youngster, this would be a great time to return the favor. We all know a kid or two who we could bring for a few hours and create a memory that will last for a lifetime.

You might even know a single mom or two who might enjoy a Saturday off after a long work week. Give her a break for half a day that would be worth a million bucks to her, make a world of difference to the kid and cost you just a few hours.

Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the fishing part takes place from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. You can usually keep a kid’s attention for two hours. EASL will serve free hot dogs, beverages and jambalaya during the weigh-in while the judges tally the results. Trophies will be awarded immediately after the tally of results to the respective age groups.

After the trophies are awarded, the EASL gives out door prizes, including two bicycles, featuring several age groups and prize categories so even the little ones can win.

Kids must bring their own rod and reel or cane pole and must use live bait (crickets, worms, etc.). No artificial lures are allowed. EASL will have some crickets available that morning. Kids are allowed to fish with only one rod and reel or cane pole at a time. Parents may help bait the hook and cast but the kids must land the fish.

Young anglers should keep all fish that are caught, no matter how small (sorry, no turtles or eels). Families should bring a bucket for the fish and a couple of chairs, and a small ice chest with drinking water for use during rodeo hours is recommended.

Children must never be left unattended. The EASL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and properly managing natural resources for future generations. For more information, call Betty Lambert at (225) 571-4588.

I encourage anyone who is involved in the outdoors in any way to join the East Ascension Sportsman’s League. Visit (easlonline.org for details). Fifteen dollars per year is really inexpensive to take part in preserving our outdoor heritage.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@the advocate.com.