Legette looks to grow success, stability at St. Thomas Aquinas

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Recent history suggests that football is in good shape at St. Thomas Aquinas.

In 2015, St. Thomas Aquinas went 12-1, reaching the Division III semifinals. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, the Falcons won a playoff game each year, reaching the Division III quarterfinals.

Randell Legette was part of that success as an assistant coach beginning in 2013.

In 2018, Legette accepted the call to take over as head coach when Hutch Gonzales left for Mandeville.

“We are trying to get back to and sustain the winning that has happened here previously,” Legette said. “We are working on it day by day. It is not just about football but about building character and doing things the right way. That is how you win.”

Legette has a history of success to draw upon.

As a player at John Curtis Christian, Legette was part of three state championship teams in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

“The way I approach life, in general, comes from J.T. Curtis,” Legette said. “That includes discipline, Christian values and how to persevere. What I learned at Curtis helped make me who I am today. There is a definite culture of winning that you learn there which I have taken with me in life.”

In Legette’s first year, the Falcons were 5-6, including a loss to powerful Catholic of New Iberia in the Division III playoffs.

As the third head coach in three seasons at STA, Legette is looking to provide stability to the program which John White ran for 11 seasons prior to Gonzales taking over.

“Last year, we had a lot of young guys who got thrown into the fire quickly,” Legette said. “I thought they did a good job of responding. We need to build off of that young group. Our offensive and defensive lines are our most experienced positions and we have size there. We can truly build from the inside out.”

Offensively, the Falcons have an excellent junior running back in Antron Dillion (6-1, 195). Junior Tyler Luster (5-6, 130) will join Dillion in the backfield. Another wild card is sophomore linebacker Devaki Williams (6-0, 185), who will see some action on offense.

“Antron will lead the way while Devon Wilson will get some carries,” Legette said. “Tyler Luster is a track guy. Devaki Williams will also see action there after playing linebacker as a freshman and he did well. We like our depth at running back. With our offensive line, this group should be very productive.”

Sophomore Earl Jackson (5-10, 175) takes over at quarterback.

“Earl got some playing time last year as a cornerback,” Legette said. “He also played running back in the second half of the season and did very well. We feel he can do special things. He is young and needs experience at quarterback but the fact that he played last year will help.”

The tight end is sophomore Nunzio Martello (6-4, 230), who has a bright future.

“Nunzio was ineligible last year,” Legette said. “He is a big kid who loves the game and we are eager to get him in there.”

The wide receivers include an outstanding senior in Devon Wilson (5-10, 165) and sophomore Leontine Morgan (5-8, 165).

“Leontine Morgan has great hands,” Legette said. “He will catch the ball. Devon is dangerous in space and can make plays after the catch.”

Up front, there are four huge, excellent players who will play on both sides of the ball, including senior Dustin Dyson (6-4, 215), along with juniors Hunter Bujol (6-4, 315), Robert Quillen (6-2, 320) and Kylen Smith (6-0, 320). Dyson will also see action at tight end. Peyton Parker (6-2, 285) is the other expected starter.

“Quillen, Smith and Bujol will rotate in on both sides of the ball,” Legette said. “Kylen will play most both ways. All are big and solid.”

The defensive line includes those four, along with junior tackle Codee Broom (5-11, 185) and Martello.

“Like our offense, the defense should be good up front,” Legette said. “Dustin Dyson is coming off of a knee injury and should be healthy and good. He is getting recruiting attention.”

Williams should be outstanding at linebacker and he will be joined by sophomore Braden Moore (5-10, 175).

“Devaki and Braden should be solid players for us,” Legette said.

The secondary will be led by Wilson and sophomore Michael Johnson (5-10, 160) at the corners while sophomore Drew Milton (5-8, 145) is the free safety and freshman Ayvion Butler (6-2, 165) is the strong safety.

“Milton is a first-year starter and we like him at free safety,” Legette said. “He is coachable, has good instincts and can make plays. Johnson and Wilson will play corners. Butler has good range and a good future for us. He had a great spring.”

Brayden Leyer will handle kicking and punting duties.

The schedule opens at home at Pete Valenti Field against Ascension Catholic, a Division IV finalist a year ago, before St. Thomas Aquinas heads to Episcopal. A pair of home games follow against Pine and Loranger before a road trip to Independence.

On Oct. 11, the Falcons host Newman before a Homecoming contest against Livingston Collegiate.

“It is a competitive pre-district schedule against well coached teams,” Legette said. “It will help us to compete at a high level. Ascension Catholic is a really good week one game that will test us. They have a great running back. Episcopal is always a good game for us a rivalry. We are happy to have Loranger back on the schedule. Pine and Independence were in our district last year and we will continue playing them. Newman is a real test, a great team, well coached. Livingston Collegiate is an up and coming program.”

District 9-2A play begins at home against Northlake Christian on Oct. 25 before the Falcons close with road contests at Springfield and Pope John Paul II.

“Being my seventh year here, I am very familiar with our district opponents,” Legette said. “There have been a lot of changes with players and new coaches at Northlake Christian and Pope John Paul II. Springfield is always competitive. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

Now established entering his second year, look for Legette and St. Thomas Aquinas to improve upon last year’s performance in 2019.

“It is a day by day approach for us,” Legette said. “We are working hard at developing leaders. We have the talent. We have the potential. The best is yet to come.”

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