by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner

In a season filled with unprecedented achievements, Opelousas High School’s head coach, Jimmy Zachery, stands tall as the well-deserved recipient of GeauxPreps.com’s Class 4A Football Coach of the Year award, proudly presented by Chevyland.com.

Opelousas High made history this year by securing its inaugural state championship title, overcoming the odds as the 12th-seeded Tigers. The crowning moment came in a thrilling showdown against Cecilia, where the Tigers emerged victorious with a 26-13 triumph—a rematch that underscored their resilience and determination.

Coach Zachary, in just his fourth season at the helm, orchestrated an extraordinary journey that saw Opelousas High become the sixth double-digit seed to claim a state title under the challenging LHSAA Power Rating system. The victory marked the program’s first appearance in a championship game since 1956, solidifying Opelousas’ place in the annals of high school football history.

Opelousas had only known defeat up until Zachary’s arrival in 2019. The Tigers had won only 17 games in the previous nine seasons. The team recently finished 0-5 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, followed by a 6-6 record with a second-round playoff appearance in 2021.

The Tigers finished the 2022 regular season with an impressive 9-1 record, earning a No. 3 seed and a first-round bye. Although they faced a heartbreaking one-point loss in the second round, their perseverance throughout the season paved the way for the ultimate reward.

What sets Coach Zachary apart is not only the historic achievement but the manner in which it was attained. The Tigers, displaying unwavering tenacity, navigated a demanding six-game stretch at the start of the season, ultimately finishing with an impressive 8-3 record in away games. Their resilience on the road shattered the notion that home-field advantage was a prerequisite for success, emphasizing the team’s ability to thrive under pressure.