By Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
Editor’s note: This outlook is part of a series of region previews. Most teams are included. However, some may be missing or have brief outlooks due to schedule conflicts. We will add more information as soon as we can.
DISTRICT 3-5A PREVIEW
The Barbe Buccaneers finished the 2019 season with a 7-4 overall record after falling in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Barbe has a couple of huge home games scheduled including St. Thomas More, Catholic (NI) in non-district play while playing Sam Houston, Sulphur and Comeaux in league-action.
The Sam Houston Broncos have improved each year over the last few seasons under head coach Chad Paulk. The Broncos, who won just one game in 2016, have recorded back-to-back eight win seasons.
Sam Houston took a victory from district rival Barbe last season and finished with just one loss in district play.
A rebuilding effort accounted for much of the Sulphur Golden Tors’ woes in 2019, finishing with a 1-9 overall record. However, the Tors hope to have solved some of its issues by bringing in an experienced head coach at both the high school and junior college level. Chris Towery, who spent the last three years at Tyler Junior College, was named the head coach at Sulphur a few months back and is ready to get to work.
Towery inherits a football team which will return 25 lettermen including six starters on offense and seven on defense. Sulphur won’t have to wait long to showcase its offseason work as the Golden Tors face off against non-district foes such as Lake Charles Prep and Notre Dame. District play will be no different with games against defending state champion Acadiana and rival Barbe.
DISTRICT 3-4A PREVIEW
The DeRidder Dragons expect to compete for district honors again this season. It’s the goal after falling short to district champion Tioga last season.
Head coach Brad Parmley looks to build off the momentum created in 2019 that was highlighted by an 8-4 overall record and a second-round finish in the Class 4A Playoffs. The Dragons’ three regular season losses last year were by a combined three touchdowns. The momentum created along with a determination to avenge last season will be fueled by six returners on offense and eight on defense.
DeRidder’s offensive weapons include all-district selections K.J. Gooden (QB) and James Williams (OL).
Other members of District 3-4A include Bolton, Leesville and Peabody.
DISTRICT 4-4A PREVIEW
A dip in numbers is what challenges the LaGrange Gators football team for the 2020 season. Over 20 lettermen were lost last season as the Gators are expected to return only three starters on offense and five on defense.
LaGrange finished 4-7 overall last season and made an appearance in the Class 4A playoffs.
The Washington-Marion Charging Indians’ determination for a turn-around season looks promising. Head coach Toriano Williams’ squad took its lumps last season, finishing 1-9 overall, but the Indians also grew, learned and gained experience.
The squad will now use that experience to compete in one of the most competitive districts in Class 4A. The Indians return six starters on offense and eight on defense, losing only 10 letterman total from last year.
The district also features defending co-champions Eunice and Rayne as well as North Vermilion.
DISTRICT 4-3A PREVIEW
The Iowa Yellow Jackets is set to return 15 starters from last year’s squad and hopes to use that experience to shuffle through a testy schedule in 2020.
With a loaded district slate in its cross-hairs, the Yellow Jackets are ready to get to work and move past a rebuilding phase last season.
“We return 15 starters, several of which will be three-year starters,” said head coach Tommy Johns. “We were having a great off-season until the pandemic but our summer has been great so far. We are looking forward to the season.”
Leading the charge for Iowa will be Cejae Ceasar, a UL-Lafayette commit, who will play as a wide receiver and defensive back for the Yellow Jackets. Another player expected to have a great season is running back Tyrone Bass, who rushed for 620 yards last year as well as Curtis Deville who caught 35 passes for 852 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In total, Iowa is expected to return 10 starters on offense and five on defense.
With a magical season in the books, the Jennings Bulldogs hope to keep the momentum going in 2020. Despite finishing the regular season with five losses, the Bulldogs came together with one common goal.. Make it to the state championship.
That is exactly what they did. It wasn’t easy, though. Jennings fought off four determined opponents on its way to the Superdome, winning all but one of the early playoff games by just one point.
Following a hard-fought matchup with McDonogh #35, the Jennings Bulldogs punched their ticket to the Class 3A State Championship. Though it fell short in the state finals to St. James, the Bulldogs proved they could defeat all odds and come together for one common goal.
A program that is technically still in its infancy, the Lake Charles Prep Trailblazers compete as though they have been around for decades. The Trailblazer squad locked up its second consecutive district title, its first in Class 3A, last year following an impressive regular season run that included victories over Class 5A opponents Sulphur and Natchitoches Central.
The expectations have not changed entering the 2020 season with the squad expected to be even stronger. Lake Charles Prep returns nine offensive starters from a team that lost just nine lettermen total.
Head coach Erick Franklin expects to have a solid team with a ton of veterans set to return for a run at a third straight district championship.
The Trailblazers return a slew of offensive personnel that have either committed or are entertaining offers from multiple FBS programs. South Alabama commit Dillon Simon returns at the QB position after having passed for over 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns last season with just three interceptions. Senior wide receiver Glynn Johnson, a New Mexico State commit, totaled a few yards shy of 1,000 last season along with 12 touchdowns.
Other key personnel include Louisiana Tech commit Solomon Lewis and Grambling commit Jaylen Joseph. Keshlon Jackson and Trevonte Citizen have each been offered by several FBS schools.
On defense, Lake Charles Prep looks to develop a unit that returns just four starters from last season.
The South Beauregard Knights finished last season with a 2-8 overall record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The St. Louis Catholic Saints advanced to the semi-finals of last year’s Division II playoffs and finished the season with a remarkable 9-3 record, its first winning season since 2015. The Saints are determined to make another deep run in the playoffs while also challenging for the district title. St. Louis finished as the runner-up in District 4-3A in 2019.
Head coach John Richardson is no stranger to success but he is also no stranger to hard work. That is what he has instilled in his Westlake Rams squad since his arrival last year. The state champion coach has made his mark on the program and expects bigger results in 2020.
“We are improved as a team as we head into my second season,” said Richardson. “The culture and work ethic have shown big improvements.”
The Rams will have their work cut out for them though as they return just four starters on offense while defense brings back six from last season.
“We have a young offense that possesses a ton of potential,” said Richardson. “There will be more experience on the defensive side, especially the front seven.”
Defensive end Elo Goss, who has offers from McNeese, Northwestern State and ULM, will lead the defense for the Rams. Goss is 6-2, 250 pounds and runs a 4.8 40-yard dash.
Other notable players returning are quarterback Jamal Guillort and wide receiver Tristen Goodly.
Westlake finished last season with a 3-6 overall record, including three losses which were separated by eight points or less.
DISTRICT 5-2A PREVIEW
Former Sulphur assistant Matt Dufresne was tabbed to take over the DeQuincy Tigers football program and is ready to hit the ground running. He is tasked to help the Tigers compete for a district title in one of the most competitive leagues in Class 2A.
DeQuincy finished 5-6 overall last season and qualified for the state playoffs.
District competition is expected to be strong once again in 2020 with the reigning champions expected to be the favorite. However, the Kinder Yellow Jackets are faced with the task of replacing key starters from last season’s quarterfinal run.
This year’s team will go through some growing pains with many young players asked to fill in key positions, including quarterback,” said head coach Bret Fuselier. “Many players were lost to graduation on both lines. The team will be young but talented.”
The Yellow Jackets return only four starters on offense while the defense brings back seven. In total, 36 lettermen are expected to return from last year’s team.
One of the strengths returning is Kinder’s top rusher, Ty Fuselier, who ran for 907 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. On defense, Kevon Freeman returns after recording 86 tackles last season.
Others expected to make an impact for the Yellow Jackets are running back Dee Fontenot (DB/RB), Gavin Johnson (LB) and Darius Captain (WR). Sophomore Griffin Cooley is expected to start at quarterback.
Defense is the name of the game as the Oakdale Warriors march their way into the 2020 season. With just 11 lettermen expected to return, coach Destin Dietrich stated that his defense will be the strength of the team. Offensively, he hopes that the offense is more multiple and productive this year.
The Vinton Lions welcome new head coach Lark Hebert to the program. Hebert, a coaching fixture in Southwest Louisiana, returned to the area following a coaching stint in Texas. The Lions finished 4-6 last season but hopes are high even though the team only returns seven lettermen.
“There is a lot of unknown as we are just now able to get out there after the shutdown and not being to have a spring,” said Hebert. Also, summer workouts are very limited as of now.
Vinton returns Jayden Carrier (WR) and Keyshawn Budwine (WR). Carrier was an all-district selection for the Lions last season.
DISTRICT 6-2A PREVIEW
The Lake Arthur Tigers welcome new head coach Tarius Davis, who comes from Vinton High School. Davis, a tenured head coach in the Southwest Louisiana area is set to help lead Vinton to another playoff appearance and to make a deep run while also competing in a tough district.
Young athletes and a new offense are what’s on tap for the Welsh Greyhounds in 2020. However, that does not intimidate second-year head coach Cody Gueringer. The Greyhounds’ winning tradition is what helps guide through adversity, no matter the situation.
Despite key injuries and the loss of a large senior class last season, the Greyhounds still managed to reach the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. The squad’s determination has not withered as it enters a new season.
The Greyhounds are expected to work just as hard in preparation for the new season with 45 lettermen returning. On offense, six starters return while five are set to come back on defense.
Senior running back Jahiem Simon returns from a torn ACL suffered in last year’s jamboree while wide receiver returns at wide receiver after catching 23 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Linemen Gavin Richard and Rhett Davis accounted for 90 of the team’s tackles from last season.
A tough non-district slate as well as a competitive league schedule awaits the Greyhounds with key games against Iota, Vanderbilt Catholic, Notre Dame and Lafayette Christian.
DISTRICT 4-1A PREVIEW
The East Beauregard Trojans lost a core group of seniors from last season but hope to fill those shoes quickly as they enter a tough district battle this season.
Head coach Ronnie Simmons, in his fifth year with the Trojans, will have a small amount of returners on offense with only four while his defense brings back six of its starters from 2019.
“We lost a really good group of seniors from last season,” said Simmons. All 10 of those seniors started for us last year and two were four-year starters. There are some big shoes to fill, but I really like the kids we have coming.”
East Beauregard’s ground attack will have a familiar face returning as Jacob Gimnich, who rushed for 1,213 yards and 13 touchdowns, returns on offense. Jordan Wilkerson, a defensive back, looks to anchor the veteran defense this season after recording 47 tackles along with three picks in 2019.
The Trojans finished 6-6 overall last year and were tied for second in district play.
A younger Elton Indian squad expects to overcome the adversity from last season and develop a squad that serves as a threat to District 4-1A. Head coach Donnie Bruchaus brings back six starters on both sides of the ball anchored by Bryce Laughlin who is the leading returner in most statistical categories for the team.
Laughlin rushed for 786 yards and 12 touchdowns while passing for eight more. On defense, he recorded 135 tackles and three sacks.
Even though the squad is young, Bruchaus expects more effort from his kids and a little more speed that is sure to help his squad compete.
The Hamilton Christian Warriors were back on track after the 2019 season after recording its best season in four years under Jules Sullen.
With Sullen departing the program in June, the Warriors tabbed athletic director Dexter Washington to lead the program. However, the expectations remain the same.
The Warriors return six starters each on both sides of the ball after having lost only six lettermen from last year. Returning quarterback Neiman Sullen passed for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last season while Derek Brown rushed for 560 yards and five touchdowns.
On defense, Derrick Williams and Isiah Wheeler are expected to lead the way after having combined for over 100 tackles and six interceptions.
The Merryville Panthers hope to make it to the state playoffs for the eighth consecutive year while also setting goals for a district championship. The Panthers, led by Randy Jones, finished 2-9 overall last season.
The Oberlin Tigers enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent history last year. The Tigers recorded an undefeated season, clinched a district championship and made an impressive semi-final run in Class 1A.
This season may be a bit more challenging with only three starters returning on offense and one on defense. However, the Tigers remain determined to defend its spot at the top of the district standings.