Football Forecast: Comeaux vs Cecilia, Teurlings, Lafayette High [VIDEO]
It's finally game week again in South Louisiana. We've been waiting all offseason to unleash a new and improved season of the "High School Football Forecast."
Every week, Acadiana Postgame will highlight three big games and name players of the week. We'll keep you posted on all the teams and players around the area, and we will make sure to spread the love. Make plays, and you'll get on the show.
To kick off the season, it was a difficult decision picking the three games of the week. There were so many changes around Acadiana. Tyler Shelvin moved from Northside to play for Notre Dame, Terry Martin is coaching for Breaux Bridge now, Lafayette High has a brand new coach in Rob Pool and other teams like St. Martinville and Comeaux are finally getting settled after their monumental culture changes.
It would take hours to talk about all the moving pieces on all the different teams. We have time for that all season long, but it's time to get into the Football Forecast for Week One.
GAME ONE: Comeaux Spartans vs Cecilia Bulldogs
Whenever local teams play out of district, the fans always win. The Comeaux Spartans carry a lot of momentum into week one, and the Cecilia Bulldogs have the tough task of breaking in a new group of guys on the road.
It's year two of the Doug Dotson era at Comeaux, and the Spartans are starting to play with an edge. Their size and athleticism is obvious when you scan the sideline, and Dotson is focusing on the defense again. They pulled off an upset over St. Thomas More in the Kiwanis Jamboree, and Dotson even made a Ric Flair reference.
After beating the Cougars, Dotson said, "To be the best, you got to beat the best."
If Comeaux is ready to compete with the best in District 3-5A, a victory over Cecilia would go a long way to start the season.
The Bulldogs are dealing with tons of adjustments. Terry Martin's departure means Dennis Skains is the new Head Coach at Cecilia, and it's his job to figure out life after Raymond Calais Jr.
Calais, along with Quarterback Landon Roberts and Wide Receiver Kenya Dartez, were responsible for a massive chunk of the Bulldogs' offense. All three of them are gone, even though Calais will still be playing here in town for the Ragin' Cajuns. Nobody likes using the term "rebuilding year," so Cecilia won't want to start off 2016 with a flop.
It will be a hostile environment at Comeaux. The Spartan fans are hungry for a winner, and Coach Dotson's players are legit. Shane Vallot is the senior leader on the offensive line, and he has collegiate potential. Brett Dotson is maturing as a QB, and he will have one of the most dangerous weapons in the area to throw to in Tanarious Achan. Achan can take it to the house from anywhere on the field, and he's often the fasted man on either team.
That's just one game too. Is your blood pumping yet? One down, two more to go.
GAME TWO: Teurlings Catholic at Calvary Baptist
You see that man running with the football in the picture above? His name is Hayden Cantrelle, and he's taking over the Teurlings offense.
Teurlings Catholic put up a lot of points last year with Cole Kelley at quarterback, and they're going to do it again with Hayden Cantrelle. The offense itself didn't change a lot, but Cantrelle's skillset is a lot different than Kelley's. Cantrelle is committed to Ragin' Cajuns Baseball, and he plays the QB position like an athlete.
In the Kiwanis Jamboree, Cantrelle took off multiple times to gash the Acadiana Wreckin' Rams defense. He found the endzone with his legs twice, and he still throws a pretty ball. The term "dual-threat" doesn't mean Cantrelle can't throw, it just means you better look out or he's going to run on you all day. Also, he's almost impossible to sack. Every time you think he's trapped, he squirts out and finds an opening.
With Cantrelle's ability to extend plays and make players miss, Teurlings fans should be ready for some "oooh's" and "ahhh's." It's showtime.
Unfortunately, Tuerlings starts off their season on the road against Calvary Baptist.
Driving all the way up north to take on a perennial playoff powerhouse isn't an easy task, but Head Coach Sonny Charpentier is seasoned. He always schedules tough out of district, and this year is no different.
With Cantrelle leading the offense and Linebacker Tyler Batiste taking the reins on defense, the Rebels will try to take their first step toward a playoff run. Don't blink though, or you might miss something special from Cantrelle.
There are tons of players getting their chance to take control of their teams, and there are new faces on the sidelines too. Speaking of new faces, welcome to Lafayette, Rob Pool.
GAME THREE: Lafayette High vs Peabody
(Listen to every LHS football game this season on NewTalk 96.5 KPEL)
All Rob Pool wanted was to be a head coach. His wish was granted, now it's his job to guide Lafayette High School into the grizzly frontier of District 3-5A.
In one of the most brutal districts in the state, Pool's Mighty Lions are trying to bring pride back to their program. His coaching pedigree is there, coming from a coaching family, and his experience as a coordinator at a 6A school in Memphis means he won't be scared to hang with the big boys. He wanted to compete with the best, and he's bringing a lot of new philosophies with him.
The Lions are changing from a veer offense to the spread, and Pool feels confident about his team's adjustment. With big targets on the outside and a talented tight end in Hunter Merry, it makes sense to throw the ball a bit more. Tre Davis is a beast at running back, so don't expect an air raid. Davis needs his carries, and hopefully with a new passing game there will be less men in the box to beat.
In the jamboree, the Lions clashed helmets with a defending state champion. They played Notre Dame to a 3-3 tie, and their defense proved their toughness on several different occasions. Uche Utomi and Luther Brooks lead the secondary from the safety positions, and their cornerbacks are ballhawks too (two redzone INT's vs Notre Dame). When you throw in Linebacker Chance Anderson, who hits harder than anybody on the team, you get a physical defense ready to prove themselves.
Peabody doesn't care about LHS's story. They don't care that Rob Pool moved his family down to Lafayette to coach the Lions or that his players sweat all through the summer in a non-air-conditioned workout facility. They want to win their first game of the season, and they want to do it in the Mighty Lion's den.
Coach Pool wants to lead the Lions back to the playoffs, so Peabody is a solid first test. They know a lot about postseason play, and if Lafayette High wants to reach the promised land, they can start by beating a playoff team.
Since we don't have any real games to talk about yet, we can't pick our players of the week yet. Instead, how about a local player to watch?
PLAYER TO WATCH: Acadiana Wreckin' Rams Safety Bralen Trahan
Take a long look at that face, Acadiana fans. There's a good chance it will be in the papers a lot this season.
Bralen Trahan isn't just one of the best defensive backs in Louisiana, he's an all-around playmaker for the Wreckin' Rams. He calls the shots for Ted Davidson's defense, and he took a kick to the house against Teurlings Catholic in the Kiwanis Jamboree just to remind people how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands too.
You will see Trahan all over the field this year. He plays on offense, defense and special teams. He barely misses a snap for Acadiana, and he knows he's the man leading the charge. He will most likely be playing on Saturdays in college, so make sure not to miss him while he's with the Rams.
Trahan is just one of the big time players in South Louisiana. By the end of the year, the spotlight will shine on a lot of guys who deserve looks from college coaches.
LOOKING AHEAD: First Week Jitters
It's hard to predict the first week of the season. With new coaches and players, adjusted offenses and defenses, and an entire offseason of preparation, so much can change from one year to another.
Will St. Martinville keep moving forward under Vincent Derouen? How will Ascension Episcopal play under Matt Desormeaux and can they build off their success last year? Is Carencro as scary as they looked all summer, and will they be able to hold off Teurlings and STM with new QB's? There are too many questions up in the air, but we will start getting answers this Friday.
No more time for talk. Preseason accolades and jamboree scores don't mean anything anymore. It's proving time around Acadiana. See you on the field.