Experienced Ellender poised for playoff push

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Ellender is a school known for its boys and girls basketball programs, which have been superb.

On the gridiron, the Patriots continue to try to make their mark.

That just might happen in 2022.

Jesse Turner enters his third season on the job, coming off a 3-5 season.

The Patriots must replace wide receiver Oryan James, defensive end Laine Trosclair.

There is a ton of experience returning, including eight starters on offense.

Sophomore quarterback Kade Adkins (5-10, 175) returns to run the offense and he has a very experienced wide receiving corps to throw to.

That includes seniors Royal Williams (5-9, 175), Tamaj Bergin (5-11, 185) and Michael Crawford (5-10, 175). The other starter is freshman Jaden Carter (5-8, 165).

Williams had 27 catches for 340 yards and rushed 19 times for 103 times with eight combined touchdowns last season. Vergin had 17 receptions for 190 yards and rushed 12 times for 90 yards with one touchdown last season.

The running back is junior Xaviah Bryant (5-9, 170), who had 82 carries for 502 yards and caught eight passes for 55 yards for a combined seven touchdowns last season.

The offensive line features three returning starters in senior Zarontay Smith (6-1, 250) and juniors Terrell James (6-2, 215) and Khylynn Stevens (6-0, 270).

The new starters up front are junior Renee Simmons (6-1, 205) and sophomore Branson Landry (5-10, 210).

The defense features five returning starters, including both linebackers in seniors Jonathan Vallelungo (5-11, 210) and Keelan Pellegrin (5-9, 180).

In the secondary, there is experience with three starters back, including three senior safeties in Daviante Scott (5-10, 190), Kodi Smith (5-9, 180) and Brandon Harris (6-0, 185). Smith had 52 tackles, including six for loss with two forced fumbles in 2021.

Scott had 23 tackles, including five for loss with two sacks last season.

The corners are senior Brett Marcel (5-7, 160) and Kavin Robinson (5-8, 170).

Chris Lopez (5-10, 160) handles kicking and punting duties.

The schedule opens at Helen Cox on September 2 before a road game at Country Day. A home game with H.L. Bourgeois follows.

District 7-4A play begins at Morgan City on September 23 before the Patriots host South Terrebonne. Then comes a trip to Terrebonne, followed by home games against Assumption and Vandebilt Catholic. The regular season concludes at South Lafourche and Lutcher.

With a strong senior class and a host of experience, the outlook for the Patriots in 2022 is a bright one.

Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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