Gators must replace many offensive starters in 2022

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Running back Joshua Morrise will be back to lead the Gators’ ground attack in 2022.

The St. Amant defense was good last year, but it’ll have to be even better in 2022.

The Gator defensive unit will have to stabilize the team, especially early in the season as a young and inexperienced St. Amant offense tries to find its way.

The Gators must replace many key offensive players—many coming in the passing game.

It all starts and ends with the quarterback. St. Amant has lost Cole Poirrier, who started for the Gators for the past three seasons. Last year, he was a first-team all-district performer.

St. Amant also lost its top tight end in Tanner Oliver and two of its best receivers in Noah Louque and D’Andre Taylor. Taylor was also a dangerous return man.

These players helped St. Amant have a terrific bounce-back season in 2021. The Gators went 7-2 during the regular season. That included a win over East Ascension, their first since 2017.

St. Amant went on to win its first postseason game in four years, before losing to defending champion Acadiana in round two.

The Gators will not have a clear-cut starter at quarterback in 2022. Head coach David Oliver said that there are a handful of quarterbacks competing for the open spot, and he thinks St. Amant will most likely play multiple QBs this season.

During the spring, Oliver said, “Jacob Sonnier played a bunch of JV football for us last year, and Chase Kelley played JV as well. 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.”

Cole Sims, Maddox Melancon and Luke Raffray look to be the Gators’ best options at receiver, while Kamryn Hill and Cade Murphy will be two options at tight end.

St. Amant will return an experienced running back in Joshua Morrise. Morrise saw plenty of action last season for the Gators.

Paving the way for Morrise will be returning starters on the offensive line in Trinity Williams and Mason Vaughn. Williams was an all-district starter last season.

Defensively, the Gators lost three all-district linebackers in Jax Melancon, Lee Amedee and Stephen Landry. They also lost an all-district safety in Brandt Zeller.

But even with those losses, St. Amant returns plenty of firepower from that side of the ball.

The Gators’ defensive line will be arguably the best in the parish. It will be anchored by defensive end Dylan Carpenter.

The UL-Lafayette commit is the reigning District 5-5A Defensive MVP and All-Parish Defensive MVP.

“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.”

Coach Oliver said he also has high hopes for Braxon Trabeau. Trabeau has joined the football squad, after being a member of the Gators’ soccer and track teams.

Oliver said that Trabeau really caught his eye during the spring, and Trabeau should be a key contributor at linebacker this season,

Things will be different for St. Amant in 2022. The district will part ways with Catholic, McKinley and Woodlawn and welcome Denham Springs, Live Oak and Walker.

“I’m looking forward to the new District 5-5A as we enter the 2022 season. There are many new faces who need to step up to ensure our success,” Oliver said.

The Gators will begin their season on Sept. 2, with a home game against George Washington Carver.