More experienced Thibodaux football team ready to challenge in 2019
There is pride and passion in Thibodaux when it comes to its football program.
A state championship in Class 5A in 1991 will always serve as a reminder about what has been and can be accomplished.
Entering his ninth season, Chris Dugas is optimistic that his Tigers can break through and join the upper echelon in District 7-5A after a tough 3-7 season in 2018.
That optimism stems from having an experienced squad returning.
“Last year, it was first-time sophomores and juniors cutting their teeth,” Dugas said. “We only had eight seniors and only four played. We had a young quarterback who tore his ACL during the season and we had to move our free safety there. We had a key running back got hurt. We had to deal with youth and injuries which is a bad combination. Fortunately, that should benefit us this year.”
On offense, Thibodaux has a host of starters returning, most notably senior wide receiver Kyren Lacy (6-3, 210), who is committed to UL-Lafayette. Lacy will have good players surrounding him on the outside in seniors Darwin Davis (6-0, 175) and Ian Steele (5-9, 160). Senior two-way stars Maurquel Price (6-2, 180) and Tyren Young (5-11, 175) will play some at wide receiver as well.
“Our receivers are the strength of our team,” Dugas said. “Kyren is superb. It is only his second year playing football. He progressed quickly. He had a good spring. He is a hybrid kid who can play inside, outside and even at tight end. Price gives us length as well and he was a starter last year. He will play both ways, including at corner. Young had to play quarterback for us last year. He is probably the best overall athlete on our team. He will also play free safety. Davis is our best route-runner.”
Junior Luke Alleman (6-1, 180) returns at quarterback after a promising sophomore season while junior Feronte Miller (5-8, 170) is back at running back while senior Rimond Thompson (6-0, 185) is a good athlete who will help the running game as well.
“Feronte is like Alvin Kamara,” Dugas said. “He will line up in the backfield, in the slot or on the outside as a receiver. He is very versatile. Luke is back from last year to run the offense. He tore his ACL in week four. We started 3-1 with him. Losing him was big. Feronte went down after that. It really hurt us. Luke has one of the better arms of anyone I’ve ever coached. He has really grown at the position.”
Up front, the Tigers have three seniors in center Jacob Chamberlain (6-3, 315), right guard Kobe Berger (6-1, 290) and right tackle Bryce Clement (5-11, 240). The other starters are junior left guard Dorian Hawkins (6-0, 265) and sophomore left tackle Cameron Hebert (6-0, 240).
“Berger is a three-year starter for us,” Dugas said. “He is a solid kid. Jacob Chamberlain started as a sophomore after missing his entire freshman year with an ACL injury. He’s had a really good offseason. He has taken off some of the extra weight and he is stronger. Clement is a returning starter. We have a good group. Hawkins played a lot at the end of the season due to injuries. We feel good about our front.”
The defense should be solid.
Up front, sophomore Malik Burrell (6-0, 245) is a standout at tackle and he is joined by junior Lamar Winston (6-1, 250). The ends include senior Jayden Harry (5-11, 200) and junior Tykee Williams (6-3, 200).
“Burrell is really good,” Dugas said. “At one point last year, he started both ways. He has not played his best football yet. Winston is big and strong in the middle. Harry returns at defensive end. Tykee came to us from basketball. He can make a splash for us.”
The linebackers include a pair of senior standouts in Hunter Trosclair (5-9, 200) and Khalil Brisco (5-11, 220) while junior Spencer Boudreaux (5-9, 180) will join them.
“Trosclair and Brisco are three-year starters for us,” Dugas said. “Hunter missed the last four games last year injured and he still led in tackles. Khalil is a solid, experienced kid. Boudreaux started as a sophomore. It is a veteran position for us.”
The secondary is a strength, led by Price, Young and junior strong safety Rolaun Richard (6-1, 195). They will be joined by senior Josh Holden (5-10, 165).
“Josh Holden is a three-year starter and he and Young were all-district last year,” Dugas said. “Price has length which we like. Rolaun started as a sophomore and we are moving him to strong safety. He can play down in the box or over the top and is good in both roles. He should be a college prospect by the time he is a senior.”
Peyton Domangue will handle kicking and punting duties.
The schedule opens at home against Riverside Academy on Sept. 6 before the Tigers trek to Galliano to face South Lafourche and host McDonogh 35.
“Riverside is always good,” Dugas said. “Kevin Dizer is doing a good job and they have a really good running back. They are well coached and always play up in competition. South Lafourche is a parish rival. They always have tough kids and will try to pound you and play pretty good defense. McDonogh 35 is loaded with athletes. I saw them in the spring. They are very impressive with a lot of speed.”
District 7-5A play begins on Sept. 27 at Central Lafourche before the Tigers host Terrebonne and Hahnville, a true measuring stick to see how much progress has been made.
After a non-district contest at Breaux Bridge, Thibodaux hosts powerful Destrehan on Oct. 25. The regular season closes with district road contests at H.L. Bourgeois and East St. John.
“Breaux Bridge is a good 4A team out of district,” Dugas said. “As far as our league is concerned, we always know where Destrehan and Hahnville are and that is very good. Destrehan has a great back. Coach Saltaformaggio always has good players. Coach Brandon Brown has it going at East St. John and coach Larry Dauterive is back and will help. Gary Hill has great skill back, SEC-type guys at Terrebonne. Keith Menard has a good group at Central Lafourche. H.L. Bourgeois will be improved. It is a tough league.”
With a more experienced team, Thibodaux appears poised to move up the ladder in district play and move back into the playoffs in Class 5A, barring injuries.
“I think the sky is the limit for us,” Dugas said. “We’ve got some guys who are hungry to win after we had a year that was not typical for us. The players have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. They worked hard in the offseason. I think we can compete in the district, make noise for a district title and return to the playoffs. Having 27 to 28 seniors as opposed to eight is huge. They will provide leadership.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and 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 Football Foundation, College…