by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
LAKE CHARLES – Recipients for the inaugural GeauxPreps.com High School Football Coach of the Year Awards Presented by Chevyland of Shreveport were announced Thursday afternoon.
The awards, which will be handed out following the completion of each year’s state football championships, recognizes worthy program leaders from each classification combined of both non-select and select programs across the state.
In a season that was dominated by COVID-19 issues, multiple catastrophic hurricanes and championship location changes, the following coaches adapted and earned the distinction by encompassing all the traits of a true leader.
Thomas Bachman – Alexandria Senior High School
It was a season to remember for Thomas Bachman who led his Alexandria football squad to its first football state championship game in school history.
Under Bachman, The Trojans scored impressive victories on the road to Natchitoches including two victories against former state champions. ASH scored the upset victory on the road when it defeated Zachary, 31-28. In the semi-finals, Alexandria beat West Monroe, 33-17, to avenge a regular season district loss to the Rebels and become the first Rapides Parish team to advance to the finals since 1974.
Bachman, a product of Evangel Christian Academy, knows how to win and has built the Trojan program up to become one of the most respected football squads in the state.
Honorable Mention: Gabe Fertitta, Catholic High School-Baton Rouge; Marcus Scott, Destrehan; Mike Suggs, C.E. Byrd
Tony Courville – Carencro High School
When Tony Courville took over as the head coach at Carencro High School back in 2017, he emphatically expressed that he was walking into a great situation with a winning tradition.
His coaching style and dedication instantly made an impact on the program and Courville placed his name in Carencro history guiding the school to its first state championship victory since 1992 following a 35-19 defeat against four-time defending champion Edna Karr.
With the championship victory, Carencro capped its historical run by finishing 12-1 overall while averaging 52 points per game in the playoffs. The Bears limited their opponents to a 12 point scoring average in the 2020 postseason.
The state championship victory was the first for Courville as a head coach.
Honorable Mention: Brice Brown, Edna Karr High School; Jim Hightower, St. Thomas More Catholic High School
J.C. Arceneaux – Church Point High School
Church Point had never advanced past the quarterfinals in the history of its football program. In fact, the last time that the Bears had advanced to the quarterfinals was back in 2013.
Under the leadership of head coach J.C. Arceneaux, Church Point grinded away all season long and never gave up. The sheer will and determination earned the Bears their first ever appearance in the semi-finals when they defeated defending state champion, St. James, in a 14-7 thriller.
Other than Class 5A’s Destrehan, no other school had held St. James to a single score in the last three years.
Despite losing to eventual state champion Madison Prep in the semi-finals, Church Point put itself on the map as a playoff contender for future seasons to come.
Honorable Mention: Erick Franklin, Lake Charles College Prep; Ryan Manale, De La Salle High School; Joe Spatafora, Union Parish High School; Landry Williams, Madison Preparatory Academy
Toriano Wells – General Trass High School
General Trass’ last appeared in a semi-final football contest when John F. Kennedy served as the 35th President of the United States.
It had been over half a century since the Panthers had anything to be proud of until Toriano Wells came into the picture.
Wells, in his sixth season with General Trass, was on the brink of history as he led the Panthers to one of their best seasons in program history, finishing with an 8-3 overall record and just one game shy of a state finals appearance.
Among the highlights of General Trass’ historical season was a victory on the road at Evangel, defeating two top five seeds in the playoffs and finishing with a winning record for the third consecutive year.
Wells has the Panther football program on the right track and is expected to be in the mix again in 2021.
Honorable Mention: Jacarde Carter, Lafayette Christian; Jess Curtis, Many High School; Bret Fuselier, Kinder High School; Scott Wilcher, Mangham High School
Jeff Wainwright – Grand Lake High School
A worldwide pandemic and two major hurricanes didn’t keep the Grand Lake Hornets from making history in 2020.
Jeff Wainwright, in his second season as the Hornets’ head coach, mentored a squad that advanced to its first state title game in just the school’s eighth year of playing football.
The “Hurricane Hornets”, as dubbed by the Grand Lake community, proved to be road warriors all season, playing their “home” games at Jennings High School when they were not on the road.
Despite Hurricane Laura hitting the Cameron Parish school in late August while Hurricane Delta delivered another punch in late September, Grand Lake was determined to play its season. The Hornets fought to earn the No. 3 seed where it scored wins against No. 11 Centerville and No. 2 East Iberville and advanced to the Class 1A State Championship.
Grand Lake held eventual state champion Oak Grove, who averaged 60 points per playoff game, to 33 points in the finals.