Gators wrap up spring practice

Kyle Riviere
Austin Bascom returns as an all-district receiver for St. Amant. He supplied the Gators' biggest offensive play of their spring scrimmage. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The St. Amant Gators couldn't find an opponent to play, so they wrapped up their spring football practice on Wednesday with an intrasquad scrimmage.

Even though they were limited at what they could do with the scrimmage format, head coach David Oliver was pleased with what he saw.

“I thought the spring was productive, Oliver said. "We have a lot of new faces, and we got them in the right spots, and we’re starting to get them coached-up in those spots. It was harder to say in the scrimmage. We were on set play-counts, so we never really finished a drive, but I did see good things on both sides of the ball."

The Gators are coming off of a 7-3 campaign that resulted in a playoffs appearance. However, their string of three straight first-round postseason victories ended with a road loss to Captain Shreve.

St. Amant will be tasked with replacing many starters from last year's squad, including their starting quarterback. Last season, they alternated between Lathan Bourgeois and Kaleb Thompson.

"Offensively, our two quarterbacks have made some progress this spring. That’s gonna be wide open this fall between Slade Zeppuhar and Cole Poirrier," Oliver said. "We were thin on running backs. We only had two left for today after starting with seven. We didn’t want to run those guys down, so we tried out some different things for the scrimmage. Overall, I’m really pleased. I’m excited about the fall.”

Speaking of running back, the Gators lose a first-team all-district performer in K.J. Franklin. The Nicholls signee totaled 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.

"Lathan Vaughn has had a great spring," Oliver said. "I think he’s going to continue the tradition of great St. Amant running backs we’ve been putting out with Nathan Taylor, Cade Nelson and K.J. Franklin. I think he’s gonna have a huge year."

St. Amant must also replace a two-time first-team all-district offensive lineman in Beau Gremillion.

"I think the offensive line grew this spring, and I think they’ll be a unit that we can really count on in the fall," Oliver said. "I think we’re still trying to piece together the skill players. We’re still not sure where our receivers fit. We know where Austin Bascom goes, but after him, we’re searching for guys that can step up and make plays. I guess we’ll have to find them during the summer and the fall camp."

During the scrimmage, drives were ended after a limited amount of plays, regardless of the progress of the offense. Therefore, there wasn't much scoring.

However, one touchdown was set up by Bascom. He put together a catch and run of more than 50 yards to set up a score. It was the biggest play of the scrimmage.

Defensively, St. Amant lost an Army signee in defensive lineman Johnny Johnson, as well as other all-district performers in linebacker Aaron Delaune and defensive backs Darius Smith and Jacob Mathews.

Still, Oliver was very impressed with how his defense looked throughout the spring. He saw many players step up.

“McKade Fontenot really played well at the defensive tackle/nose-guard spot," Oliver said. "I like the inside-linebacker duo of Sam McCorkle and Trey Vice. Our secondary looks pretty good right now with Jordan Bennett, Cameron Henry and our two safeties, Evan Bourgeois and Zack Gonzales. They’re not very big, but they’re St. Amant players to the max. They fly around to the football and play with a lot of enthusiasm. I’m really pleased with where we’re at on defense."

Before the scrimmage, former longtime Gator head coach Doug Moreau spoke to the team.

“He talked about the value of wearing a black and gold jersey and what it means to represent St. Amant High School," Oliver said. "He made a point to the kids of just how thankful they have to be that they have all of this nice stuff now. It was all built on the backs of the guys that wore the black and gold.”