Donaldsonville High School Tigers football team is ready to roar
The Donaldsonville High School Tigers finished 5-5 last season and lost in the first round of the 3A football playoffs. The coaches and players are using that as motivation heading into 2019.
“We had a young team last season including a freshman quarterback; the nice thing about that is those guys grow up and are a year older," coach Brian Richardson said. "We must show maturity and improvement."
Richardson, who is his 19th year overall and third year as the head coach at his alma mater, knows that this team must be ready every Friday night. “We play a tough schedule as always, opening with rival Assumption and moving into a new district with E.D. White, Lutcher, Patterson, Berwick and St. James,” Richardson said.
The Tigers will be changing from their traditional spread offense to a “pistol wing-T," a move that makes sense for this year's squad. “The coaches and the kids are excited about the change," Richardson said. "The biggest thing is that they must trust the process. We worked on it in the spring and ran the new offense in the spring game."
On offense, the Tigers lose the speed of Christian Bell, who is headed to Garden City Community College in Kansas, and the skills of wideout Jeffery Johnson, who is headed to Arkansas Baptist College.
The Tigers return the bulk of their offensive production, led by quarterback Treveyon Brown. “Brown passed for 1,000 yards and was thrown right into the fire as a freshman," Richardson said. "He had some good games, just need to build on that going into his sophomore season."
The backfield is loaded with strength and speed. Rae’land Johnson will play fullback; he had nearly 500 yards rushing last season in a pass-heavy offense. Other weapons on offense will be Jaquavious Tenner, who had 525 yards rushing last year, and D’andre Johnson, who had two punt returns for touchdowns. Cyle Brooks will get his shot at receiver, and Kayvon Foster will be a nice target and end-line blocker.
The offensive line is the area where the coaching staff is looking for the most improvement. Traditionally the Tigers were a pass-first team and the line did little run blocking. With the new offense, running the football will be key for the Tigers. Willie Picou (6-foot-1, 285 pounds), a college prospect, returns along with Joel Walker (6 feet, 195 pounds) to anchor the Tigers line. Newcomers include Trent Allen (5-foot-9, 202 pounds), Christian Howard (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) and Jamaries Bennett (5-foot-10, 210 pounds).
The strength of the Tigers team last season was its defense; that group should be strong again. Veterans like college prospects Rashad Landry and Brandon Williams, along with Jarmond Dunn and Picou, should form a salty defensive line.
The linebackers are back and can run; they include Travis Joseph and Trevon Dunn as well as rover back Randell Oatis. Roaming the secondary will be an experienced group. Tenner, Datjuan Harris, Daimar Robinson and the versatile Josh Collier are back as the backbone of the defense.
“Our secondary is our most experienced group, along with our linebackers, we expect them to play well and play smart," Richardson said.
Special teams will be key for the Tigers. They return Collier as the punter, but will have a new kicker. Markale Fisher will get the first opportunity to handle the kicking duties.
The return game has always been a weapon for the Tigers and should be in good hands with D’andre Johnson and newcomer Robert Kent.
The Tiger coaches know that with a new offense comes some learning curves, but optimism is high. “The kids have to buy in with what we are doing schemewise; it is certainly new to them, but the preparation and attitude has been really good," Richardson said. "Time will tell."
In order for the Tigers to roar in 2019, the pieces must fall into place; my hunch is that they will.
Projected starters on offense for the Donaldsonville High School Tigers football team are:
- Quarterback Treveyon Brown, a sophomore
- Running Backs Rae’land Johnson, a junior; D’andre Johnson, a sophomore; and Jaquavious Tenner, a senior
- Wide receiver Cyle Brooks, a senior
- Tight end Kayvon Foster, a junior
- Offensive linemen Jamaries Bennet, a sophomore; Willie Picou, a senior; Christian Howard, a sophomore; Trent Allen, a junior; and Joel Walker, a junior.
Projected starters on defense for the Donaldsonville High School Tigers football team are:
- Defensive linemen Willie Picou, a senior; Rashad Landry, a junior; Brandon Williams, a senior; and Jarmond Dunn, a senior
- Linebackers Travis Joseph, a senior; and Trevon Dunn, a senior
- Defensive backs Jaquavious Tenner, a senior; Daimar Robinson, a sophomore; Datjuan Harris, a senior; and Josh Collier, a senior
- Rover Randell Oatis, a sophomore.