There aren't many backup quarterbacks who could come in and do what Southside’s Gavyn Menard did in the Sharks’ 45-28 win over Sulphur on Friday night.
Midway through the first quarter, Southside’s all-district quarterback, Dillan Monette, went down with what early indications suggest is a broken arm. Menard scrambled to find his helmet on the sideline and got thrown into the fire unexpectedly.
“It was 0-0 and we lose our quarterback,” Southside coach Josh Fontenot said. “For Gavyn to come into that pressure situation with minimal snaps throughout the week and coming off a big loss (at Acadiana) and have it all on your shoulders, there’s a lot of reasons for that kid to crawl in a hole and hide. He didn't do that.”
Menard threw for three touchdowns on the night and never let the moment get the best of him. Menard said when he realized what was happening — that he was now the starting quarterback — he said his goal was to just play for his teammates.
“I had to be there for the rest of the team and be there for Dillan,” Menard said. “The receivers helped me out, O-line blocked great and coach Fontenot called a great game. Everything just worked out.”
Menard threw two touchdowns to Jack Pruitt — who also added a rushing touchdown — and one long pass to Eden Stagg, who dove and used every inch of his reach to haul in a score.
“At that point, the game was slowing down a little more,” Menard said. “The game was a little fast at first, but once we scored that first touchdown, it started to slow down and it got a lot easier.”
Fontenot credited a lot of the positive things the offense did with individual players deciding to attack.
“Our receivers finally attacked the ball and played aggressively,” Fontenot said. “Our line blocked and our entire group played together.”
After a 24-7 halftime score, the 38-28 score at the end of the third quarter was a thrilling change of pace from the first half. Fontenot said the Sharks defense played too undisciplined in that third quarter and a lot of the fundamentals they normally execute well continue to fall short.
“We don't play with enough effort and those are things that I thought we prided ourselves on,” Fontenot said. “Those things aren't going well right now. We have to become a more disciplined program. We were more physical tonight, but we have a ton to clean up.”
Fontenot said he didn't know what to expect when it was time for Menard to come into the game, but the backup proved he belonged on the big stage.
“I know that Gavyn doesn’t really get rattled,” Fontenot said. “To him, it’s a game. He likes to be with his teammates and play the game and he has accepted his role very well. He is always learning and listening. He’s able to tell us what he is comfortable with and what he needs to work on. Gavyn Menard showed that he can lead us to some victories tonight.”
Menard said he isn't thinking too much about the moment or the pressures that come along with it.
“I know I am not Dillan, but I just have to lead us,” Menard said. “I’m just going to have to step up and rely on our seniors to guide us through the rest of the season. I told myself to just go out there and play football.”