Gators’ strong fronts stand out during spring
St. Amant is wrapping up spring football practice this week, and so far, head coach David Oliver has been extremely impressed with how strong his team looks in the trenches.
“Things are good. We got nine days in; we had the one day off so the kids could go to Sulphur for the semifinals. I’m pleased with the progress of the team,” Oliver said. “I like where we’re at, especially on defense. I think we have a chance to be real, real good on that side of the ball, especially on the interior line. And offensively, I feel real good about our front five.”
The Gators are coming off of a 7-2 campaign last season that saw them beat East Ascension for the first time in four years and win a playoff game. However, St. Amant will be missing its most important piece from that postseason run.
“I feel good about every spot on this football team, but we have to find some guys that can do what Cole Poirrier did for us,” Oliver said. “We need to find a specialist who can punt, kick field goals and extra points, kick off and a guy who can play quarterback.”
Poirrier has been the Gators’ clear-cut starter at quarterback for the past few seasons, but that won’t be the case this year. Oliver said they will most likely use two quarterbacks.
The QB competition will be won during fall camp. Oliver said that two of St. Amant’s quarterbacks missed nearly all of spring football because they were playing for the Gator baseball team.
St. Amant has plenty of candidates competing to be one of the team’s top QBs.
“Jacob Sonnier played a bunch of JV football for us last year, and Chase Kelley played JV as well,” Oliver said. “Kolby Sheets was injured last year, but he rotated the year before, and we have Mason LeBlanc coming up from the freshman team. We also have Cooper Babin, an eighth-grader, coming in with a lot of potential. The future looks bright long term, but in the short term, we have to find a guy who can do the job for us.”
St. Amant’s defense will be led by reigning District 5-5A Defensive MVP Dylan Carpenter. The defensive lineman missed spring due to an injury, but Oliver said he’ll be back for fall camp.
Other defensive players have caught his eye.
“I think Peyton Anderson is primed for a great year on the defensive line. Ty’Marion Fountain has also played well on the defensive line,” Oliver said. “The Paul brothers (Mekhi and Malik Paul) will man our corner spots; they had great springs. Safety Shane Landry is a returning player who played well during the spring.”
Oliver was also highly impressed with a newcomer on the Gators’ defense.
“The biggest surprise of the spring has been on our defense with Braxon Trabeau,” Oliver said. “He’s a soccer player, and he qualified for regionals in the hurdles. He’s playing outside linebacker for us, and he’s really primed. He caught my eye, and I think he’s going to be a special player for us.”
And offensively, if the Gators can figure out the quarterback situation, Oliver thinks they can be a solid unit. He said he’s happy with the pieces they have.
“Offensively, Mason Vaughn and Trinity Williams have done a great job,” Oliver said. “I was worried about the center spot, but Cooper Cheatwood has come in and done really well. We’re working through some candidates to play left guard. I feel decent about our receivers. We have Josh Morrise back at running back, and we have good depth behind him.”