Carruth excited to lead talented Catholic of Pointe Coupee squad
Having a new coach that loves the game of football can provide a lift at any level.
Finding the right place to call home as a coach is never easy, but Jacob Carruth believes he has found it.
Within months of being at Avoyelles, Carruth got the call from Catholic of Pointe Coupee and it was an offer he simply could not pass up.
“A job like this doesn’t come available too often, and when you have an opportunity like this, it’s too good to pass up,” Carruth said. “The culture here is really unmatched between the work ethic of the kids, historical success, the expectations, the parental involvement really makes this a unique place and really a blessing to work here.”
Entering a new atmosphere is always a different feeling. The fit was a good one from the start for Carruth at Catholic.
“They really welcomed me with open arms, like I’m a part of the family,” Carruth said. “This really is a family environment here and we are one and I love it. They’ve been extremely welcoming and supportive. I think every single parent on the team has come up to me and let me know if I ever need anything, that they’re there waiting to help and they’re ready.”
Coming into a new place can come with some challenges. Carruth and his players have embraced those head on.
“It is pretty much what I expected from what I knew of the program,” Carruth said. “It is good people, good support and the parents just want what is best for the kids and will do whatever they can do to help support and to give their kids the best experience they can playing high school sports.”
Every coach has their own motivation for doing what he or she does. Carruth embraces the entire experience, particularly the speaking aspect of the job.
“I love football,” Carruth said. “I love the X’s and O’s of the game. I love the chess match. Especially as an offensive coach trying to figure out ways to attack the defense and then seeing how they’re gonna react to something, what their adjustments are going to be, and then figuring out what my adjustments need to be and just that chess match back and forth.
“All week leading up to trying to prepare and plan a scheme and all things around my players abilities understanding our limitations, our strengths, and trying to find ways to use those against whatever team we’re playing that week.”
Catholic returns 10 starters from a team that went 10-2, won a playoff game and reached the regional round of the Select Division IV state playoffs.
An excellent senior leader on offense with guide the Hornets. Hayden Elliott, entering his third year as a starter at quarterback, passed for two touchdowns and rushed 61 times for 542 yards with nine scores last season. On defense, the 6-foot, 180 pounder recorded 22 tackles at free safety and also serves as the kicker and punter.
“Really even more than his talent, he’s defined by his leadership,” Carruth said. “Hayden sets the tone for us every day he comes in here, he does everything he’s supposed to do, the right way, the perfect way and he makes sure that everybody else does it the same. He does a really good job learning the whole offense and doing everything he can to master the system.”
Is there any concern with Elliott playing the entire game?
“That’s what he’s used to, he’s played everything every year since he’s been here and part of being in a small school understanding that guys can’t just be locked into one role,” Carruth said. “I’ve never seen a group of kids that worked harder. They embrace it. We have to be ready to play every snap of the game if that’s what’s demanded of us. I have no doubt that he can handle it.”
Up front, senior center Jackson Jewell (5-10, 235) leads the way.
“Jackson has been a starter for a couple years at different spots,” Carruth said. “Hayden leads the skill guys, Jackson leads the line by example, always making sure everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do at all times. Jackson is important on our defensive line as well, where he had 33 tackles last year.”
The Hornets also feature a huge offensive lineman and nose guard in Rory Lambert (6-5, 280).
“He’s the biggest guy we have in school,” Carruth said.
The offensive line is experienced, with four starters returning, including Lambert, seniors Cameron Devillier (5-10, 200), Carter Walker (5-10, 205), Jackson Jewell (5-10, 235) and a new starter in Tanner Stephens (5-10, 205).
Another key player offensively is senior wide receiver Hudson Moore (6-0, 170).
“There’s a good chance he may be our leading receiver this year, super talented guy,” Carruth said. He’s very smart and understands the concepts well.”
Senior Thomas Odom (6-1, 180) will also start on the outside.
Junior tight end Luke Vosburg (6-2, 185) is another two-way performer, who is also a good linebacker. Vosburg scored two touchdowns last season and recorded 25 tackles on defense.
Senior James Saizon (5-7, 160) is another standout at wide receiver and defensive back who was in on 22 tackles last season. Sophomore Jude Morrison (6-2, 175) is a talented athlete who will play defensive back and could see time at quarterback.
The running back is senior Cooper Laviolette (5-10, 180).
Junior Parker Jewell (5-10, 170) is another returning starter who will play both ways. Junior Brooks Capps (6-1, 170) will start at linebacker.
Catholic of Pointe Coupee will play four of their five non-district games on the road. During district play, they will bring four of their five district opponents to NRG Stadium.
“Any time you’re playing up in class as much as we are and with our district, I wouldn’t say it’s gonna be easy,” Carruth said. “We got multiple 4A schools on our schedule, we got a couple of 3A schools out of five non-district games we only got one 1A school and there were a seven-win team in the regular season.”
Carruth says the schedule is by design.
“You have to play up to get the power points,” Carruth said. “You have to prepare yourself playing bigger schools for district play and the playoffs and this district is definitely not a cake walk. Sacred Heart, Opelousas Catholic, and St. Edmund are always going to be a tough every year, well coached with talent. We want to be challenged throughout the season.”
The Hornets are prepared for the journey ahead.
“These kids everyday amaze me their understanding of football, going from an old school Wing-T option style offense they’ve been playing forever to a spread offense and I didn’t get hired till mid-June and they’ve taken on to it, like they’ve doing it forever just because they they understand the game,” Carruth said.
An excellent culture has already been established.
“It was just really a testament to them and their work ethic, their dedication to the game, how fast they’ve been able to adapt, to adjust and they’re raising hell when I walk in the door,” Carruth said.
The stage is set for a very good encore in 2023.
“This group of seniors told their administration at the beginning of summer to make sure they took the time to make the right hire because they were gonna take care of making sure they were ready to go. So they didn’t need to rush,” Carruth said.
“These guys were working without a coach until I got hired. They had 100% attendance, didn’t miss a day without even knowing who their head coach would be. There is the perfect example to the culture built into this program. There would no excuses, with our without a head coach. They were going to be ready to go.”
Catholic won its lone state title in 1978. With a new coach and dedicated players, the Hornets are most certainly trending toward returning to being that kind of program again.
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).
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Born and raised in the Metairie area, Jacob Senat is a 2023 graduate of Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy. He is currently attending Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in Sports Broadcasting and analytics.