As he ponders what might have been and what he hopes the 2014 season will somehow be, St. John-Plaquemine football coach Oliver “Crickett” Crockett admits he didn’t see any of this coming.
The Eagles are winless and lost a top player, quarterback Hayden Hemenway, to a season-ending injury last week. Yet the second-year coach sees possibilities.
And those possibilities start Thursday night as Class 1A St. John (0-4) hosts 3A Erath (1-3). Game time 7 p.m. at Plaquemine High’s Canova Stadium.
“I don’t think we’re a bad football team at all,” Crockett said. “We’re a team that hasn’t put it all together, plus we’ve had some injuries. It’s a lot of little things.
“We might block perfectly for four plays but have the running back hit the wrong hole. Or the blocking breaks down for a couple of plays, and we don’t have any place to run. We may be closer to putting things together than people see. Playing a 3A team won’t be easy, but it will help us get ready for district (8-1A) and that’s the goal now.”
Playing 3A teams is nothing new for St. John and neither is playing a District 6-3A team from Vermilion Parish. Last week the Eagles lost 32-8 to North Vermilion, losing Hemenway to a broken collarbone in the process. St. John’s other two quarterbacks missed last week’s game with injuries made matters worse.
To date, St. John has not played a 1A opponent. The Eagles lost to 3A Brusly to open the season and also have played 2A Episcopal and The Dunham School.
Junior Clay Payne gets his first varsity start at quarterback for St. John, which should get a boost from the return of Payne and a few other injured players.
“Before Clay got hurt we’d made it a point to get him in at quarterback for a few plays in each game, so this won’t be totally new for him,” Crockett said.
Erath edged Franklin 21-20 last week to claim its first win. Quarterback Ben LeBlanc has 423 passing yards for the Bobcats. Sophomore running back Elijah Mitchell has 288 yards and two touchdowns for the season, including 148 yards last week.
“We’re looking to build on what we have and to get better,” Crockett said. “I feel like we can put it all together. It’s a question of when.”
CHEF to honor seniors
The Christian Home Educators Fellowship Patriots will honor its seven seniors during a 7 p.m. Thursday game against the New Orleans Home School Saints.
Olympia Stadium is the site of the ACEL game.