St. John looks to take step forward in Minton’s second year

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon

After a 4-7 record a year ago, the St. John Eagles take a young, somewhat experienced, squad into the 2022 season under second year head coach Coby Minton.

Last season ended earlier than Minton and his squad would have liked, but having a year under his belt, the expectation is much higher for this fall.

“The players know what to expect out of me, and I know what to expect out of those guys,” Minton said. “Getting to form those relationships on a personal level is big for our success.”

Along with the on-field improvements that need to be made, Coach Minton also heavily emphasizes implementing team values and instilling a culture into his program in the early years of his tenure.

“Our motto this year is ‘Blue Collar Gold Standard’ because we feel like we have blue collar kids,” Minton said. “We got guys that don’t mind rolling their sleeves up and getting to work. We want to be hard workers, but we also want to remember the standard that it takes to be successful that the people before us had.”

St. John has a history of success finishing state runner up twice in 1998 and 2006 as well as winning their district nine times since 1974, and Coach Minton wants his players to establish a winning mentality in his locker room. He looks to further push his team and use the experience of last year to better prepare him for the fall,

“You’ve got to be a second-year coach, you can’t be a first year head coach for the second time,” Minton said.

Offensively, the Eagles did lose starters at the skill positions to graduation such as wide receivers Joseph Schlatre and Josh Daigle as well as fullback John Merritt Bueche. In a spread offense, those positions must be filled effectively. However, the Eagles return dual threat quarterback Maddox Bennett (6-3, 185) for his senior season and Minton is looking forward to having him as a vocal leader as well as allowing him to showcase his athletic talent.

“Maddox is a very good athlete, and we started having success on the back end of last season when we let him use his athletic ability a lot more,” Minton said, “He’s one of those guys that when he talks, the players listen. The guys know what they’re going to get out of him and they rally around him for sure.”

St. John also returns senior running back Andrew Kleinpeter (5-10, 170) and junior wide receiver Michael Patrick Edwards (5-9, 135), both of whom Coach Minton is counting on to step up in a big way.

“Last year we went through a 1-2 stretch where, for those three straight weeks, Andrew was in COVID protocol,” Minton said “I really think that one of those games could’ve gone a different way because he’s also a starting outside linebacker for us, so he makes a big impact on the field. Michael Patrick is the same way, he starts at defensive back as well as receiver. Even though he’s a junior, he’s a very good leader and the guys look up to him. He’s going to be an animal in the weight room and put his work in on the field every day.”

The offensive line returns two of its five starters with first team All-District senior center Colin Lerange (6-0, 235) and Second Team all-district senior guard Ronnie Horn (5-11, 195), but Coach Minton knows they have the personnel necessary to fill those other three spots.

“We feel good about those young guys that are stepping up,” Minton said. “We have a junior (Dylan Lopez: 5-11, 185) that will be a first time starter, but he was our second tight end for us last year, and we really think we can get more out of him this year by moving him to guard.”

On the other side of the ball, there is a lot more experience with personnel, and under new Defensive Coordinator Mark Millet, who was the Head Coach at Centerville last year, the expectation for this unit is high going into the fall.

The main bulk of the veteran experience is in the front seven led by returning starters Peyton Dardenne (6-0, 200) and Jack Maracantel (6-2, 195) who anchor the pass rush as well as the unit as a whole.

“Almost everything we do is going to run through them, and we got a lot of other down-lineman coming back as well,” Minton said.

The linebacking unit also bodes a lot of experience as well led by senior Maddox Ourso (6-0, 195) and junior Clayton Repp (6-1, 205) who return as the two inside linebackers of the Eagles 3-4 front. On the back end, three starters return with Maddox Bennett, playing defensive back as well as quarterback, which he has experience doing,

“His sophomore year, Maddox was going to be the starting quarterback, but he broke his hand, so he was forced to play defense only in a cast all year,” Minton said. “He didn’t play a ton of defense last year, but it’s something he’s comfortable doing that he’s done it before, and I really think he’s going to bring a lot to the table on that side as well.”

The other two returning starters includes Michael Patrick Edwards, playing receiver along with cornerback for the second straight year, along with junior cornerback Gage Blanchard (5-11, 170), which provides another level of security in the secondary.

“Always great to have experience on that back end,” Minton said. “You kind of get thrown into the fire at cornerback, so when you can bring back some guys with experience that’s always nice.”

The Eagles look to improve upon a 4-7 record and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015. With a tough 1A district that includes Ascension Catholic, Ascension Christian, East Iberville and White Castle, which St. John finished 1-3 against in last year, Coach Minton knows there is a lot to improve upon going into this fall,

“We want to get this program back to where it needs to be, and the guys are working hard, they’re embracing it, they’re doing everything we ask them to do,” Minton said. “It is something that I think is very attainable if we can stay healthy and play up to our standards.”

St. John opens its season on September 2nd against Hanson Memorial looking to get off to a better start than their 1-4 first month of last year’s season. A home game with Central Private is followed by a road game at Highland Baptist. The Eagles then host West St. Mary. The final non-district game is at Houma Christian.

District 8-1A play opens at Ascension Catholic on October 6. Three straight home games follow with Ascension Christian, White Castle and East Iberville before the regular season concludes with a non-district contest at Jeanerette.

Hopes are high for Minton and his Eagles to rediscover winning ways in 2022.

Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).

  • < PREV Bradley Feig promoted to UNO Men's Basketball Director of Basketball Operations
  • NEXT > Jacob Martinez named Louisiana Tech Director of Football Operations

Peyton Davis

CCS Intern

A New Orleans native, who currently attends the University of Alabama studying Sports Media, Peyton Davis played football, basketball and ran track at Isidore Newman. Peyton has worked for The University of Alabama student radio station at 90.3 WVUAFM as an anchor on the Saturday morning college football pregame show. He is interning this summer at Crescent City Sports working…

Read more >