MORGAN CITY — Public school retirement for Tommy Minton hasn’t meant frequent rounds of golf or extensive couch potato moments.
No, Minton is still doing what he’s done for the past 25 years — coaching football.
This time Minton’s coaching venue is Central Catholic-Morgan City, not far from Patterson High, where he was the football coach for 16 years.
In 21 years as a head coach, Minton’s teams have posted a 172-74 record.
In Minton’s first year, Central Catholic is 4-2 with a team that has many sophomore starters. The Eagles are also 2-1 in District 7-1A, a league that includes defending select school Division III champion Vermilion Catholic.
Despite the new address, there’s a certain amount of familiarity at CCMC for Minton.
He was there two decades ago as the coach during the early 1990s.
Now Minton, 52, said one of his goals is to get the Eagles in position to annually challenge for the district title.
Minton said his team at this point resembles more of a stalker than a team engaged in the league title hunt.
The Eagles have another important district game scheduled Friday in Youngsville when Central Catholic visits Ascension Episcopal School.
Minton said he thought his coaching career might be done earlier in 2014 when he completed enough years to consider retirement.
“That was my situation earlier this year, and I was looking toward retirement,” Minton said. “Then this job (at Central Catholic) was opening up. Everything kind of happened at the same time, and I made the decision to come here.
“It turns out it was a good decision, one which is working out for me. I’m having fun at what I’m doing.”
Minton, who coached the Eagles during spring training, said he is not necessarily overseeing a big rebuilding project.
“They were on the right road when I got here,” Minton said. “This is also a program that had success in the past. One of the things I have tried to do here is get more kids out for football.
“Last season they had about 32 kids. Now we have 47 out.”
CCMC advanced to the regional round of the state playoffs last year, losing 34-0 to Vermilion Catholic.
Minton, who took Patterson to state championship games in 2002 and 2010, is perhaps doing a bit more teaching this season.
The Eagles are starting seven sophomores offensively and on defense, the inexperience is about the same, Minton said.
Central Catholic began the season with victories over Loreauville and Lusher Charter. CCMC then lost to E.D. White 32-8, followed by wins over Highland Baptist-New Iberia (48-26) and a 29-22 loss to Vermilion Catholic.
Central Catholic then beat Hanson Memorial-Franklin (51-6) Thursday in another 7-1A contest.
Minton said he’s installed a spread offense, which is different from the I formation and the split-backfield CCMC utilized last year.
“We’ve had a lot of concepts to learn offensively, but they are adapting,” Minton said. “What is encouraging is they’ve shown me they are hungry to learn and work hard.”
Central Catholic’s offense has been guided so far by sophomore quarterback Blake Byrne, who averages about 160 yards passing per game.
Against Hanson last week, Byrne threw for 178 yards and four touchdowns.
This season Byrne has 12 touchdown passes, along with 11 interceptions.
CCMC’s main rusher has been Tefano Guarisco, (680 yards, 12 TDs).
Byrne’s passes have been aimed mainly toward sophomore receivers Jalen Johnson and Samarick Paul.
Defensively the Eagles are also young, but the 3-4 alignment Central Catholic used last season is anchored by seniors Garret LeBlanc and Charlie Barron, Minton said.
LeBlanc is a middle linebacker and Barron, a free safety, has six interceptions.
AES (5-1, 2-0) represents a tough challenge, said Minton.
“(Blue Gators) are playing well and they are undefeated in district,” Minton said. “They have a great runner Ja’Ceiry Linzer, who has speed, power and elusiveness.”
“Most of the talk in the preseason was about Vermilion Catholic and then Lafayette Christian and Ascension Episcopal as teams that are up and coming. No one really mentioned much about us,” said Minton.