Vedros looks to continue rebuilding Central Lafourche program
Entering his second year, Shelly Vedros looks to continue the rebuilding of what was once a good Central Lafourche program.
The Trojans reached a state championship game in 1968.
The last winning season for the Trojans was 2018.
Central Lafourche did not win a game in 2020 or in 2021. In fact, the Trojans lost 19 straight games before defeating rival South Lafourche 26-19 last season. The Trojans also closed the season in positive fashion with a 20-3 win over H.L. Bourgeois and hope to carry that momentum forward into 2023.
Veteran coach Shelly Vedros took the responsibility of running the program last season at a school he had served at for many years.
“Before I took over, the program had been through four coaches in four years,” Vedros said. “I just think out kids needed stability. I’ve been here 26 years. It was time. Let me take it over and we will see where we go from there. I really like it here with the kids, the community and the administrators. Everyone is buying in.”
Progress is being made.
While there are key players who graduated, including Tate Campeaux, Ceontrey Raymond and Kaeyman Westerman, there are many key players returning in 2023 which should give the Trojans a chance to exceed last season’s win total.
A total of 12 starters return, though only four are back on offense.
That includes senior quarterback Makia Slayton (5-11, 150), who has pair of experienced receivers back to throw to in seniors Porter Zeringue (6-0, 200) and Mason Sherrill (6-0, 170). Sophomores Jeremy Cleveland (5-9, 145) and Tyreke Cooper (5-10, 140) are the other starters on the outside.
“Makia is a two-year starter and he has learned the game a lot more,” Vedros said. “He has grown significantly and picking the game a lot better. Playing time certainly helps. He is hard-nosed and has heart. He will give us what we need. Zeringue will play running back, receiver and on defense as a 3-year starter. He should play at the next level.”
The running back is new in sophomore Robert Day (5-7, 150). Sophomore Drew Washington and junior Marvin Maldonado (6-0, 140) will also play.
“Maldonado was here as a freshman, left after a hurricane for Texas and now he is back,” Vedros said. “We will share the wealth there.”
Up front, only one starter returns in huge junior Kaden Adams (6-2, 310). He will be joined by another big player in junior Emmanuel Espejo (6-0, 300). Joining that duo are senior Troy Harris (5-10, 240), junior Grady Lawson (6-0, 280) and sophomore Victor Ellison (5-10, 180).
“Kaden is our center and makes all our calls,” Vedros said. “He is a good shot-putter in track and field. He is our main guy. We have moved some defensive guys to offense this year.”
The defense has much more experience with eight starters returning.
The strength of the defense is clearly up front with all six starters back.
“I’ve been the defensive coordinator the last 14 years so this is my domain,” Vedros said.
The defensive line includes senior Shane Williams (6-0, 260), along with juniors Johntras Payne (6-0, 230), Zacchaeus McNabb (5-10, 170) and Jaquez Lawson (6-0, 220).
“We should be able to hold our grown up front with the experience and numbers we have,” Vedros said.
Both starting linebackers are back in seniors Kendal Liner (5-10, 175) and Ryan Naquin (5-10, 185).
“Both Liner and Naquin are experienced and know what we need,” Vedros said.
The secondary is a bit of concern with only juniors Talan Bonvillain (5-10, 185) and Timaja Gale (6-1, 150) returning. The new starters are juniors Simeon Robinson (5-11, 160), Clarence Clement (6-0, 170) and Miquel Johnson (6-0, 160).
“We are trying to figure out our corners right now as we lost both from last season,” Vedros said. “That would be our biggest concern on defense.”
The schedule opens with as tough a game as any team could schedule at defending Select Division I state champion John Curtis Christian Sept. 1. Another road game at Vandebilt Catholic follows before two home games, against South Lafourche and Franklin.
“Coach Aaron Meyer played at John Curtis and when he got the job here, he got together with J.T. Curtis and decided to play,” Vedros said. “He wanted to show our kids what a great program looks like. We decided to do play them. We had played them before. I know its tough but I want our kids to play hard. You never know. We will learn and improve from the experience. The others are good programs and rivals.”
District 7-5A play begins at Terrebonne Sept. 29. Defending Non-Select Division I state champion Destrehan invades Raceland on Oct. 6, followed by another home game against East St. John. Road games at Thibodaux and Hahnville are next and the regular season concludes at home against H.L. Bourgeois.
“The River Parish schools are always good and Destrehan is elite,” Vedros said. “Our kids will compete hard until the end. Terrebonne will be a dark horse. They have athletes. East St. John and Hahnville are always good. Thibodaux has a new coach. H.L. Bourgeois does a good job.”
Entering the second year of a new program with a coach who is locked in with the school, look for the Trojans to improve on last season’s two wins.
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