St. John set to build on playoff appearance with home grown coach
The St. John football program in Plaquemine has been on a rollercoaster of a ride these past few years, including the change of head coaches with great regularity in recent years.
Now, the Eagles have turned to a familiar face to provide stability as Bryan Troxclair, Jr. takes over the program.
Troxclair is a St. John alumnus from the class of 2007 who played football during his time there. He has 12 years of experience in coaching and was the assistant coach for Zachary High’s state championship team in 2021. Troxclair also coached at Plaquemine previously.
Troxclair remembers what it was like to experience success at the highest level, having played in a state championship game in 2006.
The Eagles reached the playoffs in 2022, going 5-6 before falling to Delhi Charter in the opening round. It was the best showing for St. John since the 2015-16 season and Troxclair is looking to build on the momentum.
Troxclair is making changes, putting his mark on the program as the Eagles look to build on the postseason experience.
The fact that the Eagles return a host of players from last season is one of the biggest reasons as to why they might be able to repeat a playoff appearance this season.
That includes seven seniors.
St. John must replace quarterback Maddox Bennet and defensive lineman Peyton Dardenne, whose losses are sure to be felt, but there is talent on hand.
Senior Gage Blanchard (5-11, 175) will take over as starting quarterback.
Blanchard will have a clear top two sophomore targets in wide receiver Dalwin Beloney (6-1, 195) and tight end Nate Burleigh (5-10, 185). The Eagles have committed to a Wing-T offense, prioritizing short passes while trying to misdirect the defense at every turn.
Another staple of the Wing-T offense is a versatile and stacked run game, which the Eagles have.
Senior Michael Edwards (5-9, 165) and freshman Ahmad Wilson (5-10, 175) will make up the running back core, while Senior Clayton Repp (6-1, 215), whom Troxclair is very high on, will take on the full back position. Look for these three players, especially Repp, to see a large number of snaps.
These pieces will be guarded by an entirely upperclassmen offensive line, including seniors Dylan Lopez (5-11, 215), Gage Landry (5-9, 225), and Ellis Braud (6-1, 225), along with juniors Ben Gourgeus (6-2, 235) and Jarren Primeaux (5-10, 245).
On the defensive side, Troxclair brought in an experienced defensive coordinator in Chris Schexnayder, who brings in the 3-3 stack defense that the Eagles have committed to running.
At linebacker, seniors Jack Marcantel (6-2, 190) and Clayton Repp (6-1, 215), who will also play fullback, will be accompanied by sophomores Nate Burleigh (5-10, 185) and Cole Markins (5-9, 170). They will be assisted by senior defensive linemen Ellis Braud (6-1, 225) and Dylan Lopez (5-11, 215) and junior defensive lineman Jarren Primeaux (5-10, 245). All the defensive linemen double as offensive linemen.
Blanchard will also play defensive back while Edwards will play free safety. Both will be the only ones in their respective positions. Wilson and junior Caden Cannela (5-9, 165) will both start as cornerbacks.
Blanchard is the kicker while Edwards handles punting chores.
The season begins August 31st against Hanson Memorial at home. A trip to Central Private is followed by a home game with Highland Baptist. After traveling to West St. Mary, the Eagles host Houma Christian.
District 8-1A play begins October 5 against Ascension Catholic at home, followed by road games with Ascension Christian, White Castle and East Iberville. The regular season concludes at home against Jeanerette.
Despite not having great numbers, the Eagles are in the hunt to reach the playoffs once again, armed with the excitement of a home grown coach and a new approach.
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Wyatt Audler is a senior in high school at Holy Cross of New Orleans who runs cross country and track and field. He has had a love for sports all his life and hopes to get early exposure into the field of sports writing with the help Crescent City Sports. Wyatt looks to study sports journalism in college and become…