Central Private eyes another playoff appearance
Coaches can impact the outcome of games but good players win games, more often than not. Teams that return key players typically are set up for success. Returning star players normally helps teams have a successful season.
However, some teams must rely on their youth in the quest for success. Despite having just seven seniors this season, Central Private still has a lot of talent on its roster despite the lack of overall experience.
As for the leadership on the sidelines, the program is in experienced hands.
Deciding where to be is sometimes a difficult decision. When an offer for such a great environment emerges like the one given to head coach Cole Holden, there was almost no way he could decline to take it.
“Central Private as a school has great support of great tradition and their athletics and it’s a great community,” Holden said.
Holden brings head coaching experience to the Redhawks. Previously, he has served in that capacity for Ben’s Ford and Tunica Academy. The former Franklinton High player was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Oak Forest Academy last season.
“Central Private is home to a great group of parents, coaches, and students who are willing to work hard and learn new things together,” Holden said.
Holden was welcomed with open arms and has taken pride in helping this team build and grow from past experiences and to implement new approaches throughout the summer.
“They’ve done outstanding, the guys have really bought into what we’re selling them,” Holden said. “They showed up with a great attitude and great work ethic and I couldn’t ask for more effort out of him. The kids come in day and night out to get better at every aspect. They want to learn and become the best versions of themselves they can be.
Holden is thankful for his previous experiences and mentors who prepared him for this opportunity.
“I was in high school, playing football for Shane Smith and playing baseball for Jeff Dijon,” said Holden. “Those guys and the guys on their staff had a big impact on me growing up and that really made me want to pursue a career in coaching.”
Having a small student population at Central Private makes putting together a full football team very difficult. Though the numbers are a challenge, the youngsters participating are ready to accept the challenge at hand.
With those numbers, players must be “iron men,” playing two-way football for the Redhawks.
“Right now, senior running back/safety Hunter Pourciau (5-11, 165) is gonna be a big contributor on the offensive and the defensive side,” Holden said. “Junior fullback/linebacker Aiden Pomerleau (5-8, 180) will be a contributor on both sides of the ball as well.”
The backfield features three experienced players.
Sophomore quarterback Seth Hatfeild (6-1,145) has a good arm and he doubles as a speedy lockdown free safety on defense. Junior Jacob Weaver (6-0, 180) doubles as a fullback and linebacker in solid fashion.
Up front, seniors Braiden Morgan (5-11, 190) and Stephen Lambert (6-0, 215) and Peyton Varnado are two-way stalwarts. Junior Timothy Hartman and senior Dawson Glover are other offensive line starters while the defensive line includes junior Christian Corsentino and sophomore Gage Guillory.
The tight end is senior Grant Austin.
Senior Luke Browning will play wide receiver and cornerback and he is joined in the secondary by sophomore Seth Hatfield and freshman Houston Hunt.
Guillory will handle kicking duties while Johnson is the punter.
“It’s 1A football, everybody in our classification has a numbers issue,” said Holden. “We play old school Iron Man football and to me, it’s all about putting your best athletes in a position to help you win so we just do what we have to do when it comes to that.”
Having players playing multiple positions can be tiring but Central Private has the kids who want to do it and to be involved in every play while assuming leadership roles.
“We’ve talked about leadership daily,” Holden said. “ We talk about player leadership daily and we don’t put it on just the seniors. We put it on the team as a whole and are really proud of them. We give them examples and explain to them what a leader does and they’ve really accepted that whole role as a team.”
Playing tough opponents is never easy, but it makes your team better and helps them see where they need to improve. The Redhawks experienced a playoff appearance last season, which should benefit them this year.
Central Private opens on the road at Central Catholic before hosting St. John. A trip to Gueydan follows before a home game with Northeast. Then comes a road trip to Springfield.
District 9-1A play opens in very challenging fashion at home against traditional power Southern Lab. Road games with Slaughter Community Charter and Thrive Academy are next before a non-district home game with Ascension Christian. The regular season concludes at home against Kentwood.
“We’re excited about the opportunity,” said Holden ”We’re playing in arguably one of the toughest 1A districts in the state. We have a lot of great football teams with great traditional or non district schedule and it’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge we welcome.”
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.