Ouachita Christian poised for run at a state title in 2019
It is a program which has always excelled.
The Ouachita Christian Eagles are always a factor and a threat when it comes to the state playoffs. The Eagles went 8-4 a year ago, beating Central Catholic before losing a heartbreaking 22-21 decision to top-seed Southern Lab in the Division IV quarterfinals.
In 21 years, OCS head coach Steven Fitzhugh has posted a very impressive 192-72 record and is closing in on the magical 200-win mark, which would put him in elite company in Louisiana prep football history.
While the Eagles have been a dominant program, the last state title came in 2014, the fourth overall for Fitzhugh and the sixth overall for Ouachita Christian.
OCS has a very experienced, talented squad to rely on in 2019 as 18 starters return from a year ago, including seven on offense.
While the Eagles must replace quarterback Turner Carr, the Eagles are in good hands with junior Hunter Herring (6-3, 195).
“Hunter played tight end in the beginning and played a little quarterback towards the end of last season, but will be the starter at quarterback,” Fitzhugh said. “We are excited about his ability to play as he is tremendously versatile and athletic.”
The running back position will be held down by senior Will Fitzhugh (5-11, 185), son of the head coach.
“Will has been starting for us for three years and looks to finish off his senior year strong,” Fitzhugh said. “He also will be playing other positions as we like to utilize him all around the field to give us the edge on both sides.”
The other contributors at the halfback position will be junior Van David Matherne (5-8, 150) and junior Dillon Dougan (6-0, 185).
“Both guys have experience on the field,” Fitzhugh said. “Dillon unfortunately got injured in the beginning of last year and he showed plenty of potential his freshman year.”
The receiver position will be an exciting group to watch as the position will have some new faces asked to step up. The sole returner for the group will be junior Eli Extine (5-10, 165).
“Eli started every game last year and will help continue to be a factor on this offense,” Fitzhugh said.
A new starter on the outside will be sophomore Tristan Wiley (6-0, 150).
“Tristan is a young guy and we are excited to see what he brings to the table,” Fitzhugh said.
The offensive line is promising as four out of the five linemen are returning. It all starts with a trio of seniors in Grant Mashaw (6-0, 200), Ethan Hogan (5-10, 190) and Garret Foles (6-0, 215). The other returner will be sophomore James David Miller (6-0, 210).
“Grant is the anchor of the line despite not being the biggest,” Fitzhugh said. “He always finishes plays. James is another young guy who has plenty of experience in the trenches.”
The defense is filled with versatile players who play both sides as they return ten out of eleven. The defense scheme will be a base 3-3 with plenty of players who fit the scheme well.
The defensive line will be led by junior Henry Messinger (6-0 170).
“Henry made the most noise last year and really turned a number of heads because of his size,” Fitzhugh said.
The other players returning will be junior Christopher Holyfield (6-0, 180) and junior James Forte (6-0, 160). “James tore his ACL last year and took the offseason seriously to make a comeback.”
The linebacker position is filled with returning starters and guys who rotated last year.
The leaders of the group are Hogan, senior Jon-Thomas Dixon (6-0, 180), and Mashaw.
“Ethan will play on offense but has started at linebacker for the past three years,” Fitzhugh said. “Grant is a versatile player for us as he plays on the other side but will be a force to reckon with on defense.”
The secondary will feature junior Aidan Ham (6-0, 180), junior Kade Woods (6-2, 180), Extine and Fitzhugh.
“The secondary is going to be fun to watch this year,” Fitzhugh said. “Kade is an Alabama commit for baseball but loves playing the game of football. Aidan also is a guy we are excited to see as he is the hardest hitter we have in the group.”
The schedule opens at home against Arcadia on Sept. 6 before a trip 3A power Sterlington on Sep. 13. Week three is another tough home test against Jena.
District 5-2A play will begin on September 27 against rival Sicily Island. Delhi visits OCS in week five before a trip to Cedar Creek.
The Eagles will host Oak Grove on Oct. 18, Tensas on Oct. 25 and St. Frederick Oct. 31. The regular season ends at Delta Charter on Nov. 8.
With a very experienced, talented team, Ouachita Christian is poised to make a run at a state title in 2019, if the Eagles can remain healthy.
“I am excited about this team mainly because we have plenty of guys returning which is always a plus,” Fitzhugh said. “I think we can go far with our schedule and put Ouachita Christian back on top. I look forward to the season opener and I know our guys are ready to start as they have been working hard this summer.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Joshua attended Brother Martin High School while competing in football, wrestling, and track and field. During his athletic career with the Crusaders, he was part of three consecutive team state championships in wrestling under Robert Dauterive. Josh continued wrestling on the college level at Briar Cliff University. After graduating in 2018, he…