Interview: St. Paul’s coach Kenny Sears looks forward to season with veteran team
It has been a while but who’s counting?
When you talk about St. Paul’s football, it is impossible to even ponder or to consider the Wolves apart from Kenny Sears.
The dean of north shore coaches and one of the dean’s of Louisiana now, Sears is entering his 22nd season as head coach at St. Paul’s and his 30th overall at the Covington school while continuing to serve as the Dean of Students and Disciplinarian as well.
Speaking on All Access on 106.1 FM Wednesday night, Sears said the numbers are simply numbers now.
“I stopped counting a long time ago which means I’m a fossil now,” Sears said.
An excellent coach and administrator known for his consistent organizational skills, Sears reached the 150 victory plateau for his fine career a year ago but he is looking to restore the bite in the Wolves.
After dominating 6-5A for years, the Wolves have slipped to a mediocre 18-18 over the last three years overall and went just 3-4 in league play in 2019. The last district championship for St. Paul’s was in 2016.
The Wolves did reach the Division I quarterfinals a year ago, losing to powerful Catholic High of Baton Rouge 28-10 in the found of eight.
“The league has simply improved,” Sears said. “There’s definitely a lot of parity in the league. If you look at our league overall, it’s very competitive with three, maybe four teams vying for the district championship with three games left last season. Every down counts. Each program has a great football coach and has built its program up respectively.”
Who are the teams to beat in 6-5A in 2020?
“Week in and week out, you have to be prepared,” Sears said. “Every team can beat you on any given day. Our focus is to get better every day so we can compete with those guys on Friday night. Certainly Coach (Larry) Favre has done a great job at Slidell. Hank (Tierney) has a great team coming back at Ponchatoula. Mandeville has an outstanding team. Slidell is probably the favorite. They won the district title last year.”
Not being able to gather the entire team together has been difficult.
“It’s been time consuming,” Sears said. “At the same time, it’s been great to see the effort of the kids, not going through spring football and being away from each other for a while has given us an opportunity to come together closer as a team. They have been great throughout the process and we’ve had a great summer with the effort they have put forward.”
Sears praised the LHSAA for continuing to keep hope alive with regard to having a season in 2020.
“I definitely think they are committed to the season,” Sears said. “I’ve looked at all the memos that Mr. (Eddie) Bonine has sent out. I definitely feel there is a commitment there, whether it happens on time or whether it’s pushed back. I just hope they are committed to a 10-game season and if it gets to a certain point that they would consider moving it to the spring. I think it is going to happen, at some point.”
The 2020 Wolves will be a more seasoned team than the 2019 squad.
“We had a really young team and played a lot of sophomores and juniors last year,” Sears said. “The bulk of our team was a nucleus of both. We have most of our guys back on both sides of the ball. I felt like the games we lost were really good learning experiences. Some of them were painful experiences. I think the kids learned from it. I like where we are as a team.”
Sears talked about what he feels will be the strong points of his team this season.
“Last year, at one point, we had eight sophomores on the field offensively,” Sears said. “I really feel good about that group. They’ve learned so much in a year. Defensively, I really good about our defensive line and linebacking corps. Most of those guys are back.”
Whether there are fans are not, the Wolves are eager to hit the field.
“No doubt, we’re going to play,” Sears said. “We’re starting school next week. We’ll take a couple of days to train the kids with our procedures and the things that we have to do. We’re going to keep practicing every afternoon and work to get better. Hopefully, we can get to a point where we can have some contact to see where we are. We’ll be ready. It’s so important for our seniors to have their season. I’m feeling confident that it will happen, at some point.”
Sears is sure that the pandemic will pass, at some point, with everyone chipping in and in faith.
“We need to keep praying that each day brings us a little bit closer to that,” Sears said.
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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…