Football Preview: Kenner Discovery on verge of discovering bigger success

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Kenner Discovery and PJ Strunk

Don’t look now but people are discovering the football program of Kenner Discovery.

In three years (two at the varsity level), P.J. Sprunk has built a solid program, posting an 11-8 record at the new school with fine facilities, fine young men and continuing to grow.

The Swamp Owls finally graduated a class of players and must replace the likes of running back Matthew Geraci, offensive lineman Mo Abbas, middle linebacker Logen Colomer and defensive backs Drake Johnson and Micoli Murphy.

Despite the loss of five starters, 17 starters return to make Kenner Discovery a formidable force in 2021 and there are 19 players back who started at least a game a year ago.

“We have built it in four years to where we have more talent and more experience,” Sprunk said. “Every year, it gets better with the young men understanding what we are trying to accomplish. Some of the seniors now were here that first day when we started the program with 11 kids. We have more numbers, more size and more speed and we have many four-year starters.”

It starts at quarterback with senior Kristian Kraft (5-10, 168). Kraft is a four-year starter and a dual threat.

“Kristian walked on campus four days before school started as a freshman and he has started every game for us,” Sprunk said. “He is a dual threat and was our second leading rusher last year and he can throw. He is a very good student, very smart.”

Junior running back Luke Geraci (5-9, 190) returns as well and he will be joined in the backfield by junior Kaare Smith (5-10, 205).

“Luke is ready to step in and play well while Kaare is a transfer from Bonnabel and we are expecting big things from him,” Sprunk said.

A pair of wide receivers return in juniors Labyron Martin (5-11, 170) and Landen Boyington (5-10, 184). Martin was superb last season with 983 yards receiving and 486 yards rushing to go with seven touchdowns. They will be joined by junior Dante Thomas (6-2, 170) and sophomore Connor Smith (5-11, 170).

“Labyron is a triple-threat,” Sprunk said. “He is a very good high jumper in track and our starting point guard in basketball. He can catch it, run it and line up at quarterback for us and even throw it. Smith is a player we are really excited about as well.”

Senior tight end Chad Woodson (6-2, 235) brings size and experience to the in-line position. Woodson is a physical force, converted from wide receiver and is a good basketball player for the Swamp Owls.

“Woodson has started since his sophomore year,” Sprunk said. “He has really grown in two years, in height and weight. He is a big weapon for us, can press the field and can block. He has an offer from Louisiana College and has other interest. He could take off this season.”

Up front, the Swamp Owls are huge and solid with four starters returning, led by mammoth senior Brian Lacey (6-3, 355). Juniors Dashawn Clark (5-9, 305), Aaron Andrus (6-6, 298) and Emmani Chapman (6-3, 295) return as well. Seniors Damon Robinson (5-10, 305) and Victor Cortes (5-10, 255) will also play.

“The Clark brothers have started for us for two years already,” Sprunk said. “Dashawn really good for us. He is quick and strong. Both have been all-district players, one on offense and one on defense, including Deshawn on the defensive side. Aaron and Emanni were good last year. We have very good size up front.”

The defense is very experienced as well with 10 starters back from a year ago.

Up front, senior Tommy Cagle (6-4, 220), along with juniors Tariq Coleman (6-2, 240), Deyaa Attamarri (6-0, 255) and Deshawn Clark return and they will be joined by junior Angel Rivera (6-1, 235). Cagle is the leader of the group.

“Cagle has college interest and is the prototypical defensive end,” Sprunk said. “He has worked hard in the weight room and may be the strongest young man on our team, pound-for-pound.”

A pair of players with experience from last year are back in senior Joel Machado (5-9, 210) and sophomore Osvaldo Natividad (5-10, 230).

“Osvaldo was a defensive lineman last year and he will play middle linebacker this year,” Sprunk said. “Machado was a reserve but played in every game last year.”

Four starters return in the secondary, including junior corners Marcus Clark (5-8, 155) and Nick Scandurro (5-9, 168). Senior strong safety Zander Milton (6-0, 170) and junior free safety Dallas Horton (5-9, 170) also return. Milton is the standout of the group, having already accrued seven college scholarship offers.

“Milton has seven offers and he has accepted the role of being a leader on our team,” Sprunk said. “He has turned it on the last two years. He has a chance to attract more offers.”

The new players in the deep are senior Landen Bull (5-9, 169), junior Kesler Ruiz (5-10, 165) and sophomore Cam Gardener (6-1, 180).

“We call Gardener the quiet assassin,” Sprunk said. “He does not talk much but really talks on the field. He has a chance to be a special player for us.”

Ruben Varela (5-11, 200) returns to handle kicking and punting duties and is a weapon.

The schedule opens at home against Riverdale before a city rivalry meeting against Bonnabel. After hosting Grace King, the Swamp Owls have a road trip to Morgan City. Home games with Fisher and Salmen follow. A trip uptown to face Lusher Charter is the final non-district game.

“We are a 3A school and most of the schools around us in Jefferson Parish are 5A schools,” Sprunk said. “Riverdale has been pretty competitive. Bonnabel will be a great rivalry for us. We scrimmaged Grace King last year. We had a matching open date to face Morgan City. Fisher is competitive and played us tough. Salmen is good and getting better. Lusher was out last year with COVID. It should be a great game for us.”

District 11-3A play has the Swamp Owls hosting Thomas Jefferson on Oct. 22. Then comes a home game against powerful De La Salle before closing on the road against Haynes Academy.

“De La Salle is the level that you want to get to,” Sprunk said. “Graham Jarrott will keep what Ryan Manale established going. They are really good. Our kids look forward to the challenge to see where we are. We beat Haynes last year after they beat us the previous year. We also split with Thomas Jefferson the last two years.”

With a ton of experience, opponents are about to discover a young program poised to come of age, perhaps earlier than expected, at Kenner Discovery.

“We want to take the next step after making the playoffs last year,” Sprunk said. “Last year was so difficult, such a challenge for us and for everyone. It is such a relief and blessing to have the kids working together. The biggest difference now is that we have a lot of depth and we have a phenomenal staff here. We have 75 guys and we are ready to take the next step.”


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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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