Football District Preview: Experience Provides Opportunities for Southern Lab in District 6-1A
by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner
Southern Lab has a long, outstanding tradition of winning.
The Kittens are always a topic of conversation when considering championship-caliber football squads. Some may wonder if 2021 could be the year that a state title could be on the horizon for the Baton Rouge laboratory school.
“We have a very young team but have 13 key players that are seniors,” said head coach Darrell Asberry. “Our team has been working really hard this offseason and I do feel we have enough to get back in the hunt for the championship.”
Southern Lab returns a slew of veterans on both sides of the ball which will play a factor come time for the playoffs. The Kittens’ three consecutive semifinals appearances will play a beneficial role while the experience in key positions could help carry the squad to greater heights in December.
Some of those key players include returning quarterback Angelo Izzard who threw for over 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Antonio Donahue, who caught 15 passes and scored five times in 2020 leads a talented receiver core that will play a big role in the Southern Lab offense.
“The biggest key for us is to stay healthy and if we can do that the sky’s the limit for this football team,” said Asberry.
It’s a new era at Slaughter Community Charter as William “Scooter” Myles was named head coach for the nights a few weeks ago.
Myles inherits a football program that has not had a winning season in three years but hopes to instill that winning mentality in his young squad.
Slaughter returns only three offensive starters from last season but his defensive unit loses only three starters. One of the defense’s most valuable returners is Seth Boinett while Elijah Henderson returns at the receiver position.
“This year’s team is a very competitive group and loves to work hard,” said Myles. “They are excited about the upcoming season and will come to play every single Friday night.”
Central Private begins its third year as an LHSAA member school and is hopeful that a first playoff appearance is on the horizon.
However, Redhawks head coach Robbie Mahfouz is tasked with replacing a good bit of talent from last season’s squad.
“We lost most of our skill players on offense and defense,” said Mahfouz. “The offensive line will be a strength for us and we do return our quarterback and one running back.”
Nash Templat returns to lead the offensive unit after passing for over 1,200 yards last year while accounting for 12 touchdowns. His tailback will also be a player to watch for as Reese Dean rushed for 650 yards and five touchdowns in 2020.
Clay Easley (6-1, 245) will anchor the offense for Central Private while Austin Bradford (40 total tackles) returns to help lead the defense.
Thive Academy will have to rely on its group of youthful players to take the reins this fall.
Head coach Keith Dickerson, Sr. continues to build a culture of winning over at the small Baton Rouge school, and his determination to build the program and lead it to new heights is something he doesn’t take lightly.
“Our young guys got a lot of playing time last year,” said Dickerson “We should be better at our overall team mission, which is playing fast, smart, and tough.”
Among some of the key talent returning for the Bulldogs are Kishun Highes, Dwalon Johnson, and Dylan White. Thrive Academy’s secondary group all played together in the eighth grade and are now returning as 9th-grade starters.
2021 District 6-1A Preseason Coaches’ Poll
|Place||School (first-place votes)||Points|
|1.||Southern Lab (3)||9|
|2.||Slaughter Charter (1)||7|
Coaches could not vote for their own team.
Central Private Redhawks
Coach: Robbie Mahfouz (4th year)
2020: 3-5, missed playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 4/5
Players to watch: C Clay Easley, RB/DB Reese Dean, QB Nash Templet
Quote from Mahfouz: “We lost most of our skill players on offense and defense. The offensive line will be a strength for us and we do return our quarterback and one running back.”
Slaughter Community Charter Knights
Coach: Scooter Myles (1st year)
2020: 3-5, lost in second round of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 3/7
Players to watch: Elijah Henderson, Seth Boinett; Justin Carmena
Quote from Myles: “This year’s team is a very competitive group and loves to work hard. They are excited about the upcoming season, and will come to play every single Friday night.”
Southern Lab Kittens
Coach: Darrell Asberry (5th year)
2020: 5-4, lost in semifinals of playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 10/7
Players to watch: Herman Brister III; Shane Forman; Darren Morris; Antonio Donahue; Carl Williams;
Quote from Asberry: “We have a very young team but have 13 key players that are seniors. Our team has been working really hard this offseason and I do feel we have enough to get back in the hunt for the championship. The biggest key for us is to stay healthy and if we can do that the sky’s the limit for this football team.”
Thrive Academy Bulldogs
Coach: Keith Dickerson, Sr. (3rd year)
2020: 1-4, missed playoffs
Starters returning O/D: 1/1
Players to watch: Kishun Hughes; Dwalon Johnson; Dylan White
Quote from Dickerson: “Our young guys got a lot of playing time last year. We should be better at our overall team mission, which is playing fast, smart, and tough.”