Fisher ready to put adversity behind
The 2022 football season was very trying for the Fisher Gators.
That the Gators even competed was a tremendous accomplishment, a huge win, as they got to play four games.
The community of Lafitte was devastated by Hurricane Ida.
The result was Fisher relocating to John Ehret to operate.
“We will be there at least until January of next year,” Fisher coach Tevyn Cagins said. “It is a roller coaster but we take it day by day. We do not have athletic facilities to use so we bus the kids from our Fisher campus to a friend’s facility. Wherever we can get work in, that’s what we are doing. Ehret has been very welcoming, a very good host.”
The resilience of the school and city are so inspirational.
The Gators carry on under alumnus and former star Tevyn Cagins, who played for Fisher from 2008-11 before playing for UL-Monroe from 2012-15.
Cajuns accepted the call to return to his alma mater in 2020, coming from Patrick Taylor where he helped start the football program, along with serving as girls basketball coach and as an assistant baseball coach.
Cagins arrived just in time for a pandemic year.
Then came the Hurricane Ida year.
Now, hopefully, comes a year resembling a sense of normalcy.
“We had COVID and thought it could not get any worse,” Cagins said. “Then came Ida and it cannot get any worse. We are looking forward to better things. We just need a break, just one break.”
There is reason for optimism with only five seniors graduating from last year’s team.
There is much young talent returning.
Fisher has 12 starters returning, including five on offense.
That includes sophomore quarterback Nickson Thibodaux (6-0, 175).
“Nickson has gone to multiple camps,” Cagins said. “He went through the adjustment, taking lumps as a freshman but he is ready to rock and roll this year.”
The wide receiver position is in good shape with the return of seniors Elijah Lewis (6-4, 190) and Bryce Thornton (5-9, 165).
“Elijah is a weapon that teams have to game plan for,” Cagins said. “Thornton is a go-to guy when they double Eli. Bryce is just as good an athlete.
Up front, the right side of the offensive line is back with senior guard Marty Eschete III (5-11, 250) and senior tackle Nicholas Spiess. They are joined by senior center Zackary Hughes, senior left guard Emmanuel Monticlair and eighth-grader Hudson Mamolo.
“We have all who played last year but one,” Cagins said. “Eschete will be a senior, along with Monticlair and Spiess. We have age and experience up front.”
Junior fullback Lane Creppel (6-0, 175) should be solid and he is joined in the backfield by junior Evan Phillips (5-9, 195). The tight end is junior Royce Mamolo.
“Creppel will be our lead running back and Phillips will play,” Cagins said. “Both are pretty strong and can run it well.”
The defense returns seven starters, led up front by Eschete. He will be joined by brother and senior Matthew Eschete and by Monticlair.
All three linebackers are returning starters, including Royce Mamolo, Phillips and senior Lucas Liuzza.
The secondary has lots of experience, led by Thornton and Creppel at safety spots, along with junior Isac Tamborella. The cornerbacks are juniors Lance LeBlanc and Gabe McDonald. Jaden Lewis will play as well.
“We have no choice with so many players who have to go both ways,” Cagins said. “We feel strong about our defense and we are switching to the 3-3-5 alignment to have our best athletes on the field. McDonald will help a lot at corner. We have some depth in the secondary.”
The schedule opens on Sept. 1 against Lusher Charter before three straight road games, against Ben Franklin, Northeast and Albany. The final non-district game is against Patrick Taylor.
“Lusher and Ben Franklin are 4A schools,” Cagins said. “If we can win those, it would really help our power points.”
District 9-2A competition starts on Sept. 8 against Thomas Jefferson before a trip to South Plaquemines. Home games with Jefferson Rise and Houma Christian round out the slate.
“The district suits us so much better than a year ago when we were in with St. Charles Catholic and Newman,” Cagins said. “That was a bit over our heads. We feel good about where we are now.”
Given what Fisher has been through, it is easy to pull for the Gators to have success in 2022. With a host of solid players returning, that could very well happen.
“It would mean everything for us personally and for our community to have a winning season after everything our kids and coaches have been through,” Cagins said. “We are still displaced as a team and many of our families are still displaced from homes. We just need a break.”
Here is hoping the Gators get that break this year. They deserved it.
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).
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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…