Terrebonne set for improvement with talented core in year two under Lewis
The 2022 season was a learning year for the Terrebonne Tigers.
Tyler Lewis stepped in for veteran coach Gary Hill, ascending from assistant coach to head coach. Lewis set in place new standards in his first year, identifying his team’s strengths and weaknesses in the midst of a 3-7 season.
Year two should be more solid and consistent, though the youth of the Tigers will need to step up to play huge roles. The combination of talented youth and experienced players gives Terrebonne a chance to compete at a high level in 2023.
Lewis has seen this Terrebonne team grow in the right direction.
Moving from assistant coach to head coach comes with added responsibilities and added pressure. Having a great community around you helps to take some of the pressure off.
“The responsibilities, when you’re an assistant coach, you’re only responsible for your role, your position room and then any other responsibility that can’t be delegated from the head coach,” said Lewis. “But now I’m responsible for it all, from the coaching staff to the athletes to the smallest and the simplest thing, so the biggest thing is the workload and the responsibility list.”
Being welcomed is what every coach wants and the Tigers and the community helped Coach Lewis feel welcome.
“They welcomed me with big arms, all arms are open from the kids, the community, administration, even the current staff at the time,” said Lewis. “The transition was easy, like I said they were more than welcome to me with open arms so I’m excited about that.”
Lewis started coaching very young, when he was just 19 at West Thibodaux Middle School. He found his calling.
Establishing the priorities for the team from day one are extremely important for a team’s success.
“Things that we preach as being Terrebonne perfect, there’s not an individual that’s perfect in the world,” Lewis said. “So I asked my guys to be Terrebonne perfect, and not a perfect individual to be 110 percent committed to the program and to dominate the day and every play.”
To take the next step, Lewis must work to develop more numbers and quality depth.
“We had to grow up quickly with a bunch of 14 and 15-year-olds last year,” Lewis said. “That should benefit us this year.”
There is one area where the Tigers clearly must improve upon.
“We must execute more in the red zone, one of our negatives is we aren’t good in the red zone,” Lewis said. “We weren’t a good second-half team last year. So that’s some of the things that we’re focusing on this year in order for us to make a playoff run.”
The Tigers have a brilliant talent on offense in LSU commit Kylan Billiot (6-4, 186). The senior leads an extremely talented wide receiver group, which includes junior Quincy McKay Jr. (6-3, 196) and junior Carl Anderson (5-11, 150). McKay has college offers.
Sophomore Owen Oliver (5-9, 192) takes over at quarterback for Kyrin Robinson. Oliver got a little playing time last season.
Senior Jayce Johnson (5-11, 170) returns after a good season last year at running back, while sophomore Alvin Celestine (5-8, 153) is just a pure athlete who had an excellent freshman campaign.
Holding down the offensive line is senior Sean Pledger (6-2, 250), sophomores O’Ryan Mosley (6-3, 304) and Chistopher Stewart (6-0, 263), along with juniors Jarrett Bolden ( 5-11, 305), Z’yon Simmons (5-9, 260) and Kaden Jones (5-11, 256). Simmons and Jones will split time.
The defense is the strength of the Tigers.
The defensive line starts with senior Ty’drick Stewart (6-2, 245) who plays the edge and also slides out to linebacker in some formations. Junior Z’yon Simmons (5-9, 260), seniors Talan Bingham (6-3, 320) and Samuel Sneeze (6-2, 270) and sophomore Julian Coleman (6-0 355) round out a big, solid group.
The linebackers include senior Jalil Matthews (6-0, 185) and sophomore Caden McKay (5-9, 185).
The secondary features all seniors, including Kavon Garner (5-10, 165), Gregory Harding (6-0, 171), Chartavius Clark (6-0, 155) and Jo’Nathan Smith (5-9, 145).
Senior Ryan Abadie (5-10, 145) handles kicking and punting chores.
The season begins against rival South Terrebonne before home games with John F. Kennedy and Lakeshore.
District 7-5A action begins in week on the road against H.L. Bourgeois before a home game against Central Lafourche. After a non-district opponent in A.J. Ellender, the Tigers return to district play at defending state champion Destrehan and at East St. John. The regular season concludes at home against Thibodaux and Hahnville.
“We have a tough schedule and there’s no way around it,” said Lewis. “We have a tough pre-district slate, but also a tough district. We have to bring our ‘A’ game every week. There’s no week where we can take the week off.”
Lewis is looking for one key quality to emerge.
“Leadership was okay coming out of last season,” said Lewis. “They weren’t really used to bleeding yet, they didn’t have a normal year.
“Most of those guys, I mean some of them went through COVID, a lot went through the storm, Ida. We’re just getting back to normal and we have more of a leadership present now in our locker room than we ever did last year.”
Missing the playoffs for the past two seasons, the Tigers are looking to return to winning and to the playoffs. The Tigers are ready for the challenges the season will bring.
“Our guys are excited about putting everything together,” said Lewis. “We have a lot of pieces, but we’re learning how to be a good football team. We’ve turned the corner on understanding what a championship caliber team looks like and what it takes.
“I really think we will be very competitive this year. I really think we’re gonna finish ten times stronger than what we did last year, simply because we’re more experienced and we have more leadership and depth.”
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of past season previews).
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Born and raised in the Metairie area, Jacob Senat is a 2023 graduate of Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy. He is currently attending Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in Sports Broadcasting and analytics.