Catholic-New Iberia cruises past Northlake Christian into semifinals _lowres

Advocate file photo by BUDDY DELAHOUSSAYE -- A host of Northlake Christian defenders takes down Catholic-New Iberia's Jason Pellerin

The way Northlake Christian coach Tony Agresta tells it, he received a phone call after the 2013 season, informing him that his team had won an award.

That honor, the caller said, was a trophy that goes to the St. Tammany Parish football team that wins the most games each year. By virtue of their 10-0 run in the regular season, the trophy was passed to Agresta and the Wolverines.

His team kept the trophy in 2014 after winning nine games, including its Division III select playoff opener. Although Class 5A Mandeville also won nine games in 2014, perhaps Northlake got to retain the trophy because of a tie in total wins?

Who knows?

“We had no idea that this trophy even existed,” Agresta said. “Apparently it goes from school to school, but we’ve been blessed to have that passed to us the past two years.”

That’s heady stuff for Northlake Christian, a small school tucked between stands of pine trees just south of Covington. The Wolverines have been successful in other sports throughout the years, but the football team has never enjoyed a run like it has since Agresta became head coach.

Entering his seventh year, Agresta’s teams have posted a 41-18 record. That stretch includes two district championships and the aforementioned perfect regular season. It also has earned the Wolverines the attention of every other team in District 7-2A.

Now, after finding success, it’s about retaining consistency.

“I think a big part of that is being able to have the coach and staff intact here,” Agresta said. “The guys don’t have to learn a new system, take a new approach every year. Those things lend themselves to consistency. I think when the kids see that, God willing, you get consistency back from them.”

After graduating Miguel Black (the New Orleans area’s second-leading rusher in 2014), the Wolverines will have to find a way to replace more than 1,700 yards of offense. The returning players seem up to the challenge, and talk is about finding ways to maintain the level of play previous teams displayed.

“I’m proud of my team,” senior quarterback Josh Landry said. “I wear my Northlake football shirts as often as I can. I want people to know who we are, and that we work hard, and are proud to represent our school.”

Senior defensive back Richard Humphrey agreed, and he said part of being proud of the team and its accomplishments is passing the tradition on to younger teammates.

“It’s motivation to the seniors and to the freshmen coming in,” he said. “You have to show them that we all have to work. … I’ve only been here for two years, but I learned quickly. The kids come in here, and it’s like family, and they look up to us. That’s what Coach tells us every day: ‘Be a role model.’ ”

Of course, none of this is lost on District 7-2A opponents. They expect Northlake to be good each year, which means a date with the Wolverines brings out the best in most foes.

“We have to respect every team,” senior lineman Dylon Cook said. “No one is lower than the other one. It’s important to bring everyone together and understand that.”

Still, Northlake players enjoy the challenge.

“We’re in a competitive district,” senior receiver Zack Odenwald said. “We’re one of the top teams, maybe. … but anything can happen. We can beat (last year’s champion) St. Thomas Aquinas. We can beat Springfield. They can beat us. It’s anyone’s district if they want it, really.”

Agresta has no reason to believe his team wants anything less. The past six years have shown that.

“Does it make the kids feel good to be part of a winning program?” he asked.

“Absolutely.”

TEAM CAPSULES

Hannan Hawks

Coach: Scott Wattigny (first year)

2014: 1-8, 1-5

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to St. Thomas Aquinas in Division III select first round)

Looking back: The Hawks struggled mightily after reaching the Division III championship game in 2013.

Moving forward: First-year coach Wattigny replaces Pat Lambert.

Ask The Advocate: The Hawks are hoping to win more district games, but they realize it won’t be easy.

Projected starters on offense: WR Justin Wendt (5-10, 160, Jr.), WR Payton Hudson (6-2, 160, Sr.), TE Seth Caillouet (6-1, 185, So.), OL Christian Hudson (6-2, 245, Sr.), OL Kedrick Hebert (6-2, 234, Jr.), OL Joshua Parker (6-2, 245, Sr.), OL Christian Hoz (6-5, 260, So.), OL Michael Morel (5-10, 245, So.), QB Jonathan Ryan (5-10, 160, Sr.), RB Ryan Hensarling (5-8, 210, Sr.), RB Josh Butler (5-6, 150, Jr.).

Projected starters on defense: DE Darryl Gallo (6-0, 205, Sr.), DE Andrew Schlenker (5-10, 185, Sr.), DT Bryce Bowlsbey (5-8, 210, Sr.), DT Christian Hudson (6-2, 245, Sr.), LB Bryce Lauga (5-11, 215, Sr.), LB Gino Guarino (5-8, 180, Sr.), LB Oliver Murphy (5-10, 160, Jr.), DB Nicholas Martin-Morman (5-10, 175, So.), DB Brock Schultis (5-10, 150, Jr.), DB Jarrett Gonzales (5-10, 165, Sr.), DB Gaven Brooks (5-8, 160, Sr.).

Schedule

Sept. 4 at Dunham

Sept. 11 Covenant Christian

Sept. 18 St. Martin’s Episcopal

Sept. 25 at St. Thomas Aquinas#

Oct. 2 St. Helena#

Oct. 9 Pine#

Oct. 16 Northlake Christian#

Oct. 23 at Springfield#

Oct. 29 at St. John

Nov. 6 Pope John Paul II#

Northlake Christian Wolverines

Coach: Tony Agresta (41-38)

2014: 9-3, 4-2

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Catholic-New Iberia in Division III select quarterfinals)

Looking back: RB Miguel Black rushed for more than 1,700 yards to pace the offense.

Moving forward: Both lines return a lot of experience, which cannot be underestimated.

Ask The Advocate: Agresta brought a spark to the team when he came aboard six seasons ago. There’s no reason to think the Wolverines won’t be in the thick of things when the district championship is decided.

Projected starters on offense: WR Zack Odenwald (5-11, 170, Sr.), WR Sam Smith (6-1, 175, Jr.), WR Richard Humphrey (6-3, 190, Sr.), TE Taj Porter (5-10, 185, Sr.), TE Buddy Kyle (6-3, 220, So.), TE Matt Howell (5-11, 185, So.), T Chase Jenkins (6-0, 220, Sr.), T Caleb Sampson (6-3, 265, Jr.), G Dylon Cook (5-9, 240, Sr.), G Jerrard McElveen (6-1, 230, Sr.), C Braden Leahy (5-9, 200, Sr.), QB Josh Landry (5-9, 165, Sr.), RB Wesley Brown (5-9, 230, So.), RB Christian Celino (5-9, 160, Jr.).

Projected starters on defense: DE Chase Jenkins (6-0, 220, Sr.), DE Buddy Kyle (6-3, 220, So.), DT Dylon Cook (5-9, 240, Sr.), DT Caleb Sampson (6-3, 265, Jr.), LB Andrew Ehrhardt (5-10, 170, Sr.), LB Jamie Sencial (6-1, 185, Sr.), LB Wesley Brown (5-9, 230, So.), DB Josh Landry (5-9, 165, Sr.), DB Sam Smith (6-1, 175, Jr.), Cross Hebert (5-9, 140, So.), Richard Humphrey (6-3, 190, Sr.).

Schedule

Sept. 4 Friendship Capitol

Sept. 11 Cohen College Prep

Sept. 18 KIPP Renaissance

Sept. 25 at Independence

Oct. 2 at Pine#

Oct. 9 at Pope John Paul II#

Oct. 16 Hannan#

Oct. 23 at St. Thomas Aquinas#

Oct. 30 at Springfield#

Nov. 6 St. Helena#

Pine Raiders

Coach: Bradley Seal (15-16)

2014: 6-5, 3-3

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Kinder in second round)

Looking back: QB Derrick Dillon was one of the most explosive players in the state, but he has taken his game to LSU.

Moving forward: The running game should continue to be strong, thanks to experience at running back and on the offensive line. The defense should be solid but only returns three starters.

Ask The Advocate: The passing game has potential but is raw. How quickly the new quarterback and two new receivers mature will be key to Pine’s success.

Projected starters on offense: WR Lowell Pitmman (6-2, 170, Sr.), WR Markell Cotton (6-1, 160, Fr.), WR Chris Gordon (5-9, 160, Jr.), Kaz Warren (5-9, 160, So.), G Brendon Kelly (6-4, 300, So.), G D.J. Thomas (5-9, 210, Jr.), T Kabartis Ginn (6-0, 270, Sr.), T Brandon Jones (6-0, 250, Sr.), C Donovan Kreysigg (6-0, 250, Fr.), QB Joey Seal (5-9, 160, So.), RB Adarrius Berry (5-8, 200, Sr.).

Projected starters on defense: DL Brendon Kelly (6-4, 300, So.), DL Raquan Handy (6-4, 330, So.), DL Colby Powell (6-3, 215, Jr.), DL Kabartis Ginn (6-0, 270, Sr.), LB Rion Terrell (5-9, 170, Jr.), LB Demarcus Fland (6-2, 190, Jr.), LB Tate Roach (6-0, 195, Jr.), LB Hunter Temples (5-11, 190, So.) S Chris Gordon (5-9, 160, Jr.), CB Delvric Dillon (5-8, 160, So.), CB Jarwin Jordan (5-10, 180, Sr.).

Schedule

Sept. 4 Pearl River

Sept. 11 Varnado

Sept. 18 at Independence

Sept. 25 at St. Helena#

Oct. 2 Northlake Christian#

Oct. 9 at Hannan#

Oct. 16 Springfield#

Oct. 30 at Pope John Paul II#

Nov. 6 St. Thomas Aquinas#

Pope John Paul II Jaguars

Coach: Daryl Thomas (1-10)

2014: 1-10, 0-6

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Riverside in Division III select first round)

Looking back: The Jaguars were overmatched in a tough distri.

Moving forward: Seven starters return on both offense and defense, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year.

Ask The Advocate: The Jaguars can only get better in 2015; their one win came via forfeit.

Projected starters on offense: WR Andrew Arata (5-10, 165, Sr.), WR Wesley Wharton (6-0, 170, Sr.), WR Tyler Blakeman (6-0, 160, Jr.), WR Connor Maples (5-11, 175, Jr.), T Nick Carbajal (6-4, 220, Jr.), T James Ramirez (6-1, 210, Jr.), G Devin Drury (6-0, 240, Jr.), G Peyton Smith (6-0, 200, So.), C Kevin Rivers (5-11, 240, Jr.), QB David Doane (5-10, 195, Jr.) or QB Reese Satterlee (5-10, 150, So.), RB Chris Brown (5-8, 185, Jr.).

Projected starters on defense: DE James Ramirez (6-1, 210, Jr.), Peyton Smith (6-0, 200, So.), DT Nick Carbajal (6-4, 220, Jr.), Tony Hattier (5-11, 205, So.), LB Brady Crockett (6-0, 195, Sr.), LB David Doane (5-10, 195, Jr.), LB Josh Phillips (6-1, 175, So.), LB Jordan Davis (6-0, 170, Jr.); DB Andrew Arata (5-10, 165, Sr.), DB Wesley Wharton (6-0, 170, Sr.), Conner Crockett (5-11, 150, So.).

Schedule

Sept. 5 at Haynes

Sept. 11 at South Plaquemines

Sept. 18 at Newman

Sept. 25 Springfield#

Oct. 2 Country Day

Oct. 9 Northlake Christian#

Oct. 16 at St. Thomas Aquinas#

Oct. 23 at St. Helena#

Oct. 30 Pine#

Nov. 6 at Hannan#

St. Thomas Aquinas Falcons

Coach: John White (63-38)

2014: 10-2, 6-0

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Riverside in Division III select quarterfinals)

Looking back: The Falcons were unstoppable in district play, scoring at least 40 points in all but one game.

Moving forward: Nineteen starters return, including mammoth DT Edwin Alexander, an LSU commitment.

Ask The Advocate: When you lose only five players to graduation from a 10-win team, the pieces are in place for a playoff run.

Projected starters on offense: WR Jacob Becerra (6-4, 205, So.), WR Mason Miller (5-11, 175, Sr.), TE Jacob Bordok (5-11, 180, Jr.), T Kitch Taylor (6-1, 210, Sr.), T Logan Thompson (6-2, 235, Sr.), G Jarrett Jordan (5-11, 185, Sr.), G Roman Moschitta (6-0, 220, Sr.), C Chris Boudoin (5-11, 290, Sr.), QB Cameron Dantzler (6-4, 190, Sr.), RB Brad Lewis (5-10, 195, So.), RB Ralph Haynes (5-11, 235, Sr.), RB Carlos Bell (6-0, 180, Sr.).

Projected starters on defense: DT Edwin Alexander (6-4, 300, Sr.), DT Collin Lee (6-2, 210, Sr.), DE Hayes Perrilloux (5-10, 190, Sr.), DE Jesse Hester (6-2, 215, Sr.), LB Brett Bass (6-2, 190, Sr.), LB Ralph Haynes (5-11, 235, Sr.), LB Cameron Dantzler (6-4, 190, Sr.), LB Carlos Bell (6-0, 180, Sr.), S Hunter Stanley (6-1, 165, Sr.), DB Reed Bolton (6-1, 165, Sr.), DB Edward Cooper (6-1, 175, Sr.).

Schedule

Sept. 4 Chalmette

Sept. 11 at Mangham

Sept. 18 at Brusly

Sept. 25 Hannan#

Oct. 2 Springfield#

Oct. 9 Carver

Oct. 16 at Pope John Paul II#

Oct. 23 Northlake Christian#

Oct. 30 at St. Helena#

Nov. 6 at Pine#

Springfield Bulldogs

Coach: Ryan Serpas (47-32)

2014: 9-3, 4-2

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Kinder in quarterfinals)

Looking back: The Bulldogs rushed for almost 3,000 yards last year.

Moving forward: Four of five starters on the offensive line return.

Ask The Advocate: Expect more solid running from Springfield. If the younger players come together, they should be among the upper crust of district squads again.

Projected starters on offense: WR Lorenza Robertson, TE Kaleb Clark, G Maverick May, G Isaiah Palmer, T JoJo Kirkland, T Bishop Gehagen, C Reeves Blankenship, QB Damariae Claiborne, RB Eric Counce, RB Keenan Austin, RB William Barnett.

Projected starters on defense: DE Antonio Ashton, DT Jojo Kirkland, DT C.J. Thaggard, LB Isaiah Palmer, LB John Fryson, LB Eric Counce, DB Keenan Austin, DB Lorenza Robertson, DB Daniel Lawson, DB Kaleb Soileau, DB Kaleb Clark.

Schedule

Sept. 4 at Independence

Sept. 11 at Christian Life

Sept. 18 at Albany

Sept. 25 at Pope John Paul II#

Oct. 2 at St. Thomas Aquinas#

Oct. 9 at St. Helena#

Oct. 16 at Pine#

Oct. 23 Hannan#

Oct. 30 at Northlake Christian#

Nov. 6 at Bogue Chitto (Miss.)

St. Helena Hawks

Coach: Brandon Brown (5-15)

2014: 3-8, 3-3

Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Pine in first round)

Looking back: The Hawks had three players who moved on to college teams.

Moving forward: There continues to be potential on offense, especially at quarterback and running back and on the line.

Ask The Advocate: The Hawks should win several games in district and could be a thorn in the side of many others.

Projected starters on offense: WR Arnold Strawder (5-9, 155, Jr.), WR Troy Hurst (6-0, 180, So.), WR Devin Taylor (6-1, 180, So.), WR Darius Stovall (5-10, 165, Jr.), T Michael Murray (6-1, 325, Sr.), T Charleston Topps (6-2, 280, Jr.), G James Dunn (6-0, 310, Sr.), G Tarian Burton (6-2, 310, Jr.), C Toriae Scott (5-10, 270, Jr.), QB Ricky Travis (6-4, 200, So.), RB Aaron Hurst (5-11, 175, So.).

Projected starters on defense: DE Brandon Brumfield (6-4, 225, Sr.), DE Charleston Topps (6-2, 280, Jr.), DT James Dunn (6-0, 310, Sr.), DT Dreveion Hitchen (6-1, 130, Fr.), LB Douglas Mahaffey (6-0, 150, Sr.), LB Darryl Hampton (5-10, 220, Jr.), LB Devin Taylor, S Troy Hurst (6-0, 180, So.), S Damien Morgan (5-10, 180, Jr.), DB Kevin Otkins (6-0, 165, Jr.), DB Demetrius Brown (5-9, 165, So.).

Schedule

Sept. 4 Amite

Sept. 11 Independence

Sept. 18 Cohen

Sept. 25 Pine#

Oct. 2 at Hannan#

Oct. 9 Springfield#

Oct. 16 at Kentwood

Oct. 23 at Pope John Paul II#

Oct. 30 St. Thomas Aquinas#

Nov. 6 at Northlake Christian#

# — district game