FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2011: At last...football has come along

Michael Tortorich
Michael Tortorich

“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re number one. What you got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.”

– Vince Lombardi, legendary football coach

It’s that time of year again.

Soon the fall will bring cooler temperatures and shorter days.

There’s something else that’s in the air – football.

The game we all know and love, in many ways, is more than just a game. Just take to heart the words of the great Vince Lombardi.

No one is a natural-born winner. Success comes from hard work and dedication.

These valuable lessons are learned through football.  

This can be seen in all its purity at the youth level of the sport. Coaching has a profound effect on the lives of young people. Coaches are just as much teachers as anything else. They are shaping young lives, right here in our community.

With every new year comes expectations. Here is no exception. Ascension Parish’s high school teams are setting the bar high for the 2011 season.

Two of the most successful programs in the parish, Dutchtown and Donaldsonville, are coming back from playoff years.

Ascension Catholic, Ascension Christian, East Ascension and St. Amant are working to get over the hump and into the playoff race.

For Dutchtown, 2010 was a year of unprecedented success. The Griffins won the District 6-5A championship by going undefeated in the regular season. Dutchtown also won a pair of playoff games.

No doubt the Griffins will be hungry for more in 2011. They return under the leadership of veteran head coach Benny Saia, who has lots of talent returning to the team, namely Landon Collins, who is generally regarded as the top player in Louisiana and one of the best in the nation.

According to the coaches, Dutchtown will be the team to beat in the new District 5-5A, which includes Ascension and Baton Rouge teams.

Rivals East Ascension and St. Amant will be in the new district, and will look to make some noise.

East Ascension comes in with a new attitude under head coach Paul Bourgeois, who is best known for his success bringing Sulphur to the Superdome.

St. Amant enters the fourth year under head coach David Oliver, looking to turn around some misfortunes of last season. The Gators narrowly lost three games, which could have put them into the playoffs. There is plenty of buzz around this year’s team, according to Oliver.

Ascension Christian continues to build its program under former LSU?and NFL?player Brian Kinchen, who serves as head coach. With a growing roster, the Lions will play their first full schedule and compete for district honors in 2011. The Lions rely on several players to play both sides of the ball.

They will compete in District 9-1A with Ascension Catholic, a team which will be prepared under veteran head coach Rick Bolotte. The Bulldogs also have leaders returning who play both ways.

In the new District 7-3A, Donaldsonville returns with head coach Terence Williams at the helm. He will have standout Devon Breaux, a Tulane commitment, at quarterback.

The sky will be the limit in 2011, as our area teams shoot for the stars.