When asked which players stood out defensively after Central Private School’s first game as a member of the LHSAA, coach Robbie Mahfouz initially had trouble singling anyone out.
The initial hesitation was a result of his entire defense turning in a stellar performance as the Red Hawks shut out Covenant Christian 32-0 in a game played at John L. Guidry Stadium in Thibodaux.
He had too many players to choose from.
“It was pretty much everybody,” Mahfouz said of his defense. “We had people going to the football, and everybody just played really well. We had a decent week of practice, and that translated into a decent game on Friday.”
Central Private will play in District 6-1A this season, but, as part of its transition into the LHSAA, won’t be eligible for the playoffs this season. In its dominant win over Covenant Christian, the Red Hawks defeated a team that went 7-3 last season and advanced to the Division IV playoffs.
The Lions failed to find an offensive rhythm and had just 23 yards of total offense against the Red Hawks. Leading the way was Rory Seguin, who had a team-high eight tackles and two sacks. Also picking up sacks were Mason Dailey (six tackles) and Cole Birdsong (5½ tackles).
Defensive back Austin Bradford had an interception.
The defense took pressure off of the Central Private offense, which started 13-year-old ninth grader Reese Dean at quarterback because of injuries. Covenant Christian received the opening kickoff and then had a safety after a bad punt snap, and Dean played the entire game with his team leading.
“He just managed the ballgame,” Mahfouz said of Dean. “That’s all I asked him to do, and that’s what he did.”
Dean had plenty of help in the backfield. Kaleb Fontenot had a 31-yard touchdown run on Central Private’s first possession, and he finished with 11 rushes for 104 yards and three TDs. Dailey added 11 carries for 96 yards and two TDs.
“We had some concerns going in, but the defense bailed us out,” Mahfouz said. “We moved the ball well on offense, too. It was fun watching the kids have a chance to be successful in their first game in the LHSAA.”
Central Private has five more games before its closing stretch of three district contests in four games. The non-district game will be against defending Division III champion Notre Dame, but for now the Red Hawks plan on taking things one game at a time.
“We know we’re not good enough to take anybody on our schedule for granted,” Mahfouz said. “Its not like we’re going to let down because of a matchup with someone we think we could blow out. That team isn’t on our schedule. The kids know they’ve got to work every day, and they’ve got to play well to have a chance to win.”