Breaux Bridge poised for another playoff run with experienced roster
The program is on solid ground.
Zach Lochard took over the Breaux Bridge program last year after spending two years as the head coach at Patterson. He has extensive experience as an assistant with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and at Pearl River Community College, and on the high school level at Brother Martin, Central Lafourche and Chalmette.
In his first year with the Tigers, Lochard made his mark by leading Breaux Bridge to the Non-Select Division II quarterfinals, winning a pair of playoff games before falling to eventual finalist North DeSoto. It marked the first playoff win and trip to the quarterfinals since 2019 for the Tigers.
“It was a positive experience,” Lochard said. “It started slow as we had to learn a lot about each other. We grew throughout the year. We were down after a loss to Livonia entering week 10 but we were blessed to make it into the playoffs. That gave us a rejuvenated mindset and we went out and proved we were better than our record. I’m proud of how our guys responded.”
Though there are very good players to replace in Antonio Alexander and Caleb Roberts, there is genuine optimism surrounding the program entering the 2023 season.
There is depth and there is talent on hand.
Seven All-District players return from last season and 50 players return overall on both sides of the ball.
On offense, it all starts with athletic senior quarterback Kelby Hypolite (5-8, 175), who rushed for 1,369 yards and 13 touchdowns, completed 106 of 206 passes for 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions and earned first team All-District honors last season.
“Kelby has been terrific,” Lochard said. “The numbers speak for themselves. We look for him to a lot more this season, including playing a little running back, slot receiver and even defensive back. He is super-competitive and we trust him in crunch time.”
The running back is senior Christian Matthews (5-6, 165) while junior fullback Sage Chevalier (6-2, 180) returns.
“Christian did not play last year but he was our strongest guy in our weight room competition this offseason,” Lochard said. “We’ll have others in the rotation who bring different skills to the field. Chavalier will certainly help the offense be more efficient.”
At wide receiver, senior Coddie Noel (5-8, 165) returns as an outstanding two-way player after catching 25 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns last season. He is joined by juniors Jaden Broussard (5-9, 135) and Jay’den Chevalier (5-10, 185). Junior Ethan Comb (6-1, 170) is the tight end who can line up at fullback as well.
“Coddie was an All-District player last year and we did not move him to receiver until them middle of last season and he had a magnificent run in the final half of the season and in the playoffs,” Lochard said. “He can make explosive plays. Broussard can play quarterback as well as Isaiah LeBlanc, who will play on the outside as well.”
Up front, the Tigers start three seniors in guards Reece Poirier (5-11, 255) and Guy Williams (5-9, 285) and right tackle Ashton Joseph (6-4, 200). The left tackle is junior Ethan Pitre (5-11, 230) and the center is junior Kale Boudreaux (5-7, 240). Sophomore Luke Landry also figures prominently in the mix.
“We lost just one senior from last year,” Lochard said. “Williams was good last year, one of our strongest players on the team. He has a college offer and is a great character player. Pitre and Poirier return and they will help us continue to grow in giving us a dominating group. Joseph is long and athletic. Landry will play tackle as well.”
The defensive line is led by senior tackle Braxton Simon (6-2, 225), who had 29 tackles, including three sacks last season. He is joined by a promising sophomore in Christian Joseph (6-1, 260), who had 14 tackles last season.
The ends are juniors Logan Roberts (5-11, 205) and Kaleb Theriot (5-9, 185). Roberts is a returning starter who had 60 stops in 2022. Adam Camille is the other end.
“We have an exciting defensive line,” Lochard said. “We have guys that we can move in and out. Simon is the son of our defensive coordinator and he’s a leader on our team. Joseph plays tackle and he is stronger and faster. Roberts, Theriot and Camille can play the edge. Our line is a top position for us.”
Senior linebacker Landon Roberts (5-8, 205) returns after earning first team All-District honors as a junior, recording 62 tackles with three fumble recoveries. Offensively, Roberts rushed for 117 yards and two scores. He is joined by a good returning starter in senior D’mari Robertson (5-8, 230) and sophomore Baylon Champagne (5-8, 191). Robertson was in on 89 tackles as a junior.
“Roberts is very versatile, able to play inside or outside the box,” Lochard said. “He plays physical and runs well sideline to sideline. Robertson can do many of the same things as Roberts. He is a great character, very competitive kid. Champagne is instinctive.”
In the secondary, Noel (5-8, 165) returns at cornerback. Noel recorded 54 tackles with two interceptions and broke up two passes last season. Additionally, Noel returned six punts for an average of 20 yards per return and returned kickoffs at an average of 18 yards per return.
“Noel goes both ways and he will play corner on every down,” Lochard said. “He will make a big impact.”
The other corner is senior Krystian Bergeron (5-11, 155) while senior Javaughn Nicholas (6-3, 152) plays free safety and junior Jakylon Thomas (6-0, 150) returns at strong safety. Thomas had 37 tackles and two fumble recoveries last year.
“Thomas is one of the fastest players in the state and a multi-sport star who will also return kicks for us,” Lochard said. “Bergeron and Nicholas have length and they are in the mix at safety.”
The schedule opens at home against Franklin before a home game with Tioga. Road games with St. Martinville and Ascension Episcopal are next before a home game with Teurlings Catholic.
“I have great respect for Franklin. They will be tough, physical. Tioga beat us last year and it is a real good program. St. Martinville is one we have to win, a back-yard rival. They are fast and physical. Ascension Episcopal has talent. Teurlings is an established program with a great staff and great players. We play Kinder as well, a long road trip.”
District 5-4A play begins on the road at Cecilia before a non-district game at Kinder. The final three games are district contests, including at home against Beau Chene, on the road at Opelousas and at home against Livonia.
“It is a tremendous district,” Lochard said. “Opelousas won the league last year. That is who we have to beat, a physical, fast team. Cecilia is our biggest rival, well coached. Livonia beat us last season, another tough team that will run the football. Beau Chene has very talented players. The top goals are to beat Cecilia and win the district.”
The momentum built last season is clear.
The Tigers have a very good coach and a host of good players returning, poised to make another good playoff run in 2023.
“What I see in this team is a team that plays for each other, team first,” Lochard said. “They will run through a brick wall for you and fight. They are a tough team. We coach them hard. They respond well. They are super competitive every day. I challenge them to be finishers. They play with passion. I know that we will get the most of our players.”
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