Eagles kickoff the season in a battle of top 10 teams
By: SCOTT JOINER
The football season begins tonight with an intriguing showdown with No. 9 ranked Central Catholic travelling to face the No. 4 team in Class 2A, Loreauville.
There is some familiarity between the teams after a meeting in 7-on-7s during the summer and scrimmages the past two years.
“We’ve played them, scrimmaged them the last two years and played them in the regular season the two years previous,” Loreauville coach Trent Delahoussaye said. “Same coaching staff and both teams are pretty much doing the same stuff with little variations here and there. They’re doing it this year with a bunch of great athletes.
“I mean they have athletes all over the field, the team speed they have is as good as I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been here. It’s no secret how good (Lloyd) Grogan is — we can’t simulate him in practice. We don’t have anyone like that.”
The Eagles start the season with one of the toughest first two weeks in the state. After tonight, CCHS will host defending Class 1A state champions and the top team in the preseason polls — White Castle.
Neither game will make or break the Eagles season, but a pair of wins would send a message to the rest of the state that this CCHS squad is a contender.
But, first things first, the Eagles are focused on Loreauville.
“I really don’t think we’re looking over Loreauville,” CCHS coach David Furher said. “We know that this summer Loreauville knocked us out of our 7-on-7s tournament. Our guys know about Loreauville, they know how competitive they are. They know they have good athletes. I think they have a respect for Loreauville and we definitely don’t fear them, we have a healthy respect for them and know they’re capable of putting up some points.”
Loreauville is in the top five in the preseason Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll but Delahoussaye disagreed with his team’s lofty status.
“It’s not going to their heads, and it’s definitely not where we should be,” Delahoussaye said. “I think that’s crazy. There is no way we’re the fourth best team in Class 2A. I think that all goes to what we did last year. It doesn’t have anything to do with this year. The only poll that counts is the one at the end of the season.”
When Furher was told the Loreauville coaches thoughts on the poll he said that he was being modest.
“He’s downplaying that a lot,” Furher said. “They’re definitely a top 10 team in my eyes. The preseason rankings are before we play a game. But, I like what they do over there — him and his coaching staff. They coach hard, they get their kids to play hard. I’m just impressed with them overall.”
Delahoussaye said his defense is the strength of the team at this point with a big group of starters returning.
“Defensively we have nine starters back from last year — we have experience right there,” Delahoussaye said. “I think the defense is going to have to carry us and its definitely going to be challenged with (Dontrell) Brown and Grogan and the guys Central Catholic has.”
The Eagles haven’t faced Loreauville in the regular season for several years and lost by a sizeable margin the last time around.
Most of the freshmen from that team are now seniors and they haven’t forgotten that loss.
“Last time we were there for a regular season game it wasn’t too good to us,” Furher said. “I think these kids, the seniors were freshmen, they remember that.”
Loreauville beat up on Jeanerette in the jamboree last week, winning 41-8, and the Eagles had a similar lopsided win over Berwick in its jamboree.
But, neither of those results counts, and both teams are ready to get into a meaningful game situation.
“After the scrimmage and the jamboree, the kids are ready for one that counts,” Delahoussaye said.
Both coaches said the teams are evenly matched in every area other than depth, which should make for an exciting sea-son opener for both teams.
“It’s been an up and down week of practice, but the kids know about Loreauville and know how they are,” Furher said. “We scrimmaged them last year and they put a pretty good beating on us in the scrimmage. Coach Delahoussaye has turned that program around; they were down for a few years. Loreauville is traditionally a very good football team. It’s a good school and a great atmosphere for a football game.”