Given the utter devastation Acadiana High left behind in the Superdome following its 77-41 victory over Parkway for the school’s third Class 5A state championship, it’s hard to fathom the record-setting feat being upstaged.
Several weeks later, 5-foot-9 cornerback Ronald Broussard managed just that, setting the bar even higher for Lafayette Parish’s burgeoning football powerhouse.
That’s when Broussard was bestowed with the Louisiana Sports Writer Association’s Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year — a distinction longtime Acadiana coach Ted Davidson said is a first for the school.
“We’ve had some pretty good defensive football players come through here, so it’s a great honor,” said Davidson, who begins his 34th overall at the school and 11th as head coach. “We’ve kind of been known for our offense, but we’ve played pretty good defense and the times we’ve won a state championship the defense has really been solid in the playoffs. This year it was real good, and he was a big part of that.”
Winning the state’s defensive MVP award was simply an added bonus after meeting the team’s objective, Broussard said.
“It was a blessing, and I have to thank God,” he said. “To win state, and then find out I was the defensive player of the year in 5A felt amazing. But I don’t want to live off of it. I want to try to be better.”
Last year’s statistics — 33 tackles, 10 pass breakups and seven interceptions – don’t begin to tell the whole story of Broussard’s value to a defense that limited opponents to a touchdown or less six times a year ago.
Because of his reputation as one of the state’s top cover cornerbacks, Broussard can literally take one side of the field away from teams in much the same manner as his idol — NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders — did during his heyday.
“I’ve established myself where I don’t always have to have help all the time,” Broussard said. “I can go one-on-one against any receiver, and the coaches feel comfortable with that as I’ve increased my game. It gave them trust in me to where they could call on me to make a play no matter who I’m lined up against.”
The play-making gene in Broussard’s football DNA was evident from the time he arrived on campus. He turned his first varsity start against Northside in 2012 into a personal highlight reel, picking off three passes and returning one for a touchdown in a 44-22 runaway victory.
No player in school history has intercepted more passes – 20 — than the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Broussard, who earned first team all-state honors with 13 interceptions his sophomore season.
“I never thought I would be somebody that would hold that record,” Broussard said. “I thought I would go out there and make plays and the more plays I’ve made, they’re adding up into interceptions and more tackles.”
Said Davidson, “He’s been a steady kid since the day he got here. He’s been a valuable player for us.”
There have been an assortment of reasons for Broussard’s ascent, starting in the classroom where he carries a 3.5 grade-point average and makes film study of opposing quarterbacks a top priority.
A fierce work ethic and devout belief in his skills are two other key components Broussard seems to thrive on to compensate for his physical limitations.
“I practice very hard and our practices are like a game situation,” he said. “It’s all about timing and instincts. … When to jump a route or when the ball’s in the air to go make a play. I have the confidence level to make a play regardless of how big a receiver may be.”
In the area of recruiting, where college coaches seek perfectly built corners preferably in the 6-foot range with long arms, Broussard hasn’t resonated on the radar of too many schools and doesn’t have a scholarship offer heading into his final season.
Broussard’s neither concerned nor consumed with college recruiting, instead channeling his energy on leading Acadiana to back-to-back state titles and polishing off his successful prep legacy.
“I have to focus on the things I can do and not worry about the things that are out of my hands,” Broussard said. “I can’t take things to help me grow. I have to play with what I have. I have to show I can continue to play big.”