After a 43-36 victory over Plaquemine in the Class 4A semifinals a year ago propelled Warren Easton to the state championship game for the first since 1958, you would think members of the Warren Easton football team would have fond memories of the game.
Instead, coach Tony Hull remembers his team had to overcome offensive inefficiency and a near-second-half collapse — but a victory nonetheless.
Easton will host a similarly built Plaquemine team again in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday at Joe Brown Memorial Park.
Instead, it’s the Eagles (10-1) that are sporting a new look.
Despite losing eight starters from last year to Division I college programs, this season’s results have mirrored that of 2014. New faces have emerged at key positions for Easton.
“I’m not surprised,” Hull said. “I know how much our coaches put into this process of putting a program together and the time our players have spent adapting and buying into the process and working within to create something here at Warren Easton. We believe in the process, and we’re starting to see the results from the hard work we’ve put in.”
That process has helped Easton yield nine consecutive victories, all come in convincing fashion as evidenced by a 40-point average margin of victory.
Despite losing star power from last season in LSU wideout Tyron Johnson and Louisiana’s Mr. Football Deshawn Capers-Smith, this year’s Easton team has thrived with a team-first mentality.
That was evident by last week’s playoff win in which the Eagles scored on offense, defense and special teams in a 56-14 win over Belle Chasse.
“It’s because of the leadership and the confidence of this team,” senior quarterback Tyriek Starks said. “Every win, we get confidence. We’re coming out strong, preparing well and competing every day.”
That confidence is evident as Easton prepares for its rematch with Plaquemine with a trip to the state quarterfinals riding on the line.
This year’s team believes it can accomplish some of the same things last year’s team did in the postseason.
“We just believe in everybody,” senior wide receiver Clyde Chriss said. “We learned how it felt to be in the Dome and come up short, and we know we have to work that much harder. We know what we’re capable of, but you never know what you’re going to get with this team.”
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of this team.”