Ascension Episcopal poised to contend for state honors
The Ascension Episcopal Gators are always a program that can contend for state honors.
The Gators reached the Division IV state title game in 2016, the semifinals in 2015 and reached the Division III quarterfinals a year ago, beating Riverside Academy before falling to Country Day to complete a 9-3 season. Ascension Episcopal also reached the quarterfinals in 2014.
Entering his fourth year, head coach Matthew Desormeaux has posted an impressive overall record of 31-6.
With 15 starters returning from a year ago, including eight on offense, the 2019 looks very promising for the Gators to contend again in Division III.
The offense is returning eight crucial pieces that contributed tremendously last season, starting with quarterback junior Cole Simon (5-11, 185). Simon was outstanding a year ago, completing 129-of-233 passes for 2,033 yards and 14 touchdowns with six interceptions. He rushed 82 times for 395 yards and was first team all-district.
“Cole started as a freshman due to an unfortunate injury, but we are excited with his experience moving forward,” Desormeaux said.
The running back position will be held down by senior Ash Freeman (6-0, 175).
“Ash rotated last year and has plenty of game experience,” Desormeaux said. “Having him come back and step up as a senior is advantage.”
The wide receiver position is returning two out of the three from last year. The returners include senior Gus Maraist (5-10, 150) and junior Will Kerstetter (5-11, 200), who had 33 receptions for 613 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.
“We are fortunate to have two seniors with experience come back to lead the group,” Desormeaux said. “Will is the explosive type of receiver and Gus is more of a possession guy,”
The new kid on the block will be sophomore Anthony Quebedeaux (6-0, 175).
“Anthony rotated last year as a freshman, but we are very excited about his ability to become the guy for the future,” Desormeaux said.
The tight end position will be held down by returning starter senior Ethan Leoni (5-11, 190), who was an all-district performer last season with 16 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ethan will be playing a crucial role on this offense,” Desormeaux said. “He will be the guy to relieve Asa at the halfback position and play tight end.”
The offensive line returns four out of the five starters which is a huge plus.
The returners include senior Kade Guillory (6-2, 230), another all-district performer last year.
“Kade started since his sophomore year and is definitely the leader of the group,” Desormeaux said.
The juniors include Clay Ancelet (6-4, 260) and new starter Nicholas Stephens (6-0, 225). Ancelet is a college prospect
“Clay is a hard worker and the strongest guy on the team,” Desormeaux said. “We are all excited for Nick and his ability,”
The young guy up front is sophomore Barrett Hebert (5-11, 255). “Barrett started as a freshman and is very physical at the line.”
The defense returns seven key contributors from last year. Starting with the senior returners on the defensive line Barton Bernard (6-1, 180) and Ethan Leoni (5-11, 190). Bernard recorded 56 tackles, including seven for loss last season with three sacks. He blocked a field goal as well.
“Barton is a every down guy, and always looking to get better,” Desormeaux said. “Ethan is very versatile as he will play both sides.”
New guys stepping up this year will be senior Kade Guillory (6-2, 230) and junior Matthew Remondet (6-3, 195).
“Matthew stepping up this year is huge because he has some size and plenty of potential which is always an advantage,” Desormeaux said.
The linebacking corps has only one new guy in the mix. The new kid on the block will be senior Brodi Delahoussaye (5-9, 190).
“Brodi is very physical and great at stopping the run,” Desormeaux said.
The returners include senior Blake Pearson (5-8, 180) and junior Andre Domengeaux (5-8, 160).
“Blake will be the leader of the defense and played plenty last season,” Desormeaux said. “Andre is a textbook football player and reads offenses well.”
The secondary includes seniors Eli Fournet (5-8, 160), Andrew Stolzenthaler (6-1, 180), and Jaime Cordova (5-10, 200). Stolzenthaler had 50 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and blocked an extra point last season while Cordova had 80 tackles, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, forced a fumble and blocked a punt a year ago.
“Eli was banged up last year so he missed some time, but he is a shutdown corner when on the field,” Desormeaux said. “Jaime and Andrew have been starters for a while since their freshman and sophomore year, they have plenty of knowledge and will help elevate this defense,”
The new starter will be junior Trey Maraist (5-9, 145) looking to gain experience as a full-time starter.
“Tre will look to fill the need, but we have a few guys still battling for the position.”
The season opens at Erath for on Sept. 6th before home games against Catholic-Pointe Coupee and North Vermilion.
District 7-2A play opens week 4 against Jeanerette. The rest of the district games will follow against perennial power Catholic-New Iberia, Delcambre, Houma Christian, Franklin, Loreauville, and finishing up the regular season with a home game against West St. Mary.
The team has plenty of experience on both sides of the ball. The season and future looks bright with so many players coming back from a year ago.
“The guys are excited and have been working hard this summer,” Desormeaux said. “The main thing is health, and I feel like if we can go throughout the season healthy, we can go very far.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Joshua attended Brother Martin High School while competing in football, wrestling, and track and field. During his athletic career with the Crusaders, he was part of three consecutive team state championships in wrestling under Robert Dauterive. Josh continued wrestling on the college level at Briar Cliff University. After graduating in 2018, he…