Thibodaux looks to rebound from tough year on and off field

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After a year dominated by COVID and Hurricane Ida related issues, Thibodaux looks to have an improved year with an experienced squad

The 2021 football season was an incredibly difficult one for the Thibodaux Tigers.

The team dealt with a lot of non-football related problems, including COVID-19 absences and players that were displaced by Hurricane Ida, which resulted in a short handed squad all season long.

For Head Coach Chris Dugas, he believes that last year will serve as motivation.

“This team has been through a lot,” Dugas said. “The seniors from this group, as sophomores had their season shortened because of COVID, and last year we were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ida. What excites me most is these guys having a normal year.”

Coming off a 3-5 season where the Tigers missed the playoffs, Dugas, going into his twelfth season on the job, sees the seriousness that the entire group is taking in their offseason workouts and knows this fall can be special.

“I see the passion of the older guys from the spring through summer workouts,” Dugas said. “They are taking the bull by the horns and looking forward to the season, having that chip on their shoulder.”

The experience for this team starts at the quarterback position where senior Ean Rodrigue (6-1, 195) returns as starter. His impact as a playmaker on the field has garnered him attention at the college level, but Coach Dugas values his leadership very highly as well.

“From spring to summer, he’s taken a leadership role in the weight room,” Dugas said. “He’s that positive voice on the field and in the huddle during the game that brings everyone together and people look at him when the chips are down to make a play.”

The backfield consists of two seniors in Kanye Holmes (5-9, 210) and Demarcus Singleton (5-8, 180), who also doubles as a receiving weapon out of the slot and is garnering attention from colleges in the recruiting process.

Last year, Singleton had to leave the team because of Hurricane Ida, and his absence drastically effected the offense’s playmaking ability.

In the spread system that the Tigers run, players who excel in space are crucial to the offense’s success, so having him back exponentially increases the potential of this unit, and he and his running mate Holmes feed off each other when both are healthy.

“They are kind of like a thunder and lightning tandem,” Dugas said. “Kanye is a downhill, tough yardage guy. He’s a bigger back he’s not the guy who’s going to take it 88 and out the gate, but he’s going to be a guy that’s going to move the chains for you and get first downs and the tough yards.

“Demarcus is more of that big play guy, whether he’s in the backfield or in the slot. We just need to get him creative touches, we want him to touch the ball 20-25 times a game.”

On the outside, Thibodaux brings back a group of seniors to round out their receiving core. Owen Murillo (5-8, 180), Coney Blanchard (6-0, 170) and Austin Hebert (6-2, 175) all come back to complete a very talented skill position group with a lot of experience.

“Murillo is back in the slot, he was probably our most consistent receiver last year,” Dugas said. “He’s a great possession receiver who catches everything, and he’s got a little more speed behind him this year, so we’re looking for him to be a big play threat as well.”

“Weve’ got Blanchard and Hebert who both saw significant time last year on the outside. Both are consistent receivers, maybe not the big play threats, but they do a great job catching the ball and moving the chains.”

Dugas is also excited about incoming freshman receiver, Kyren Folse (6-1, 170), who he has high hopes for as a dynamic player who can immediately make an impact for this offense.

“He’s going to be a home run guy, a 6’1” guy with track speed is special,” Dugas said. “He kind of parallels Kyren Lacy, a receiver we had a few years ago who’s at LSU now, there’s some similarities there.”

Up front on the line, there is also a group of returning starters including three seniors, who are crucial to the offense reaching its full potential. With all of the turmoil of that unit over the last few seasons, having a solid group like this is very positive for the Tigers.

“It’s probably the most solid unit we’ve had in a few years, we feel good about those guys we have a lot of size especially on the interior,” Dugas said.

On the other side of the ball, the front seven consists of many returning starters who got better as the year rolled on last year.

Amongst those starters, senior linebacker Clay Granier (6-0, 195) and junior defensive end Jase Robertson (6-2, 265) are both leaders on and off the field for this unit that has high expectations for itself.

“We feel like we left off at a good place with our defense last year,” Dugas said. “They were definitely the most consistent unit of the team out of the three phases of the game,”

The linebackers should be solid as well.

“We love our linebacking core, there are a lot of guys back there who all saw significant time last year,” Dugas said. “The defensive line will be a little bit younger, not younger in class, just some guys with less experience but definitely very athletic, especially Jase Robertson we thing he’s going to be a very dynamic player.”

In the secondary, a group of three seniors Peyton Sigrist (5-9, 150), Braylon Rodrigue (6-0, 190) and Nicholas Jones (6-2, 170) provide continuity and experience.

There is, however, a level of uncertainty as defensive back Wyatt Clement graduated last year, but the group as a whole has seen a lot of action over the last few years, and still is viewed as a strength to the coaching staff.

“I feel like we have good experience there,” Dugas said. “I feel like that’s a unit last year that kind of started out slow, but they got a lot better as the season went on. We’ve been looking good in the seven-on-seven drills, and we have a lot more depth this year than in years past, so we just need to pick up where we left off last year.”

The schedule opens at home against Lutcher and South Lafourche. The final non-district game is at St. James before district 7-5A play begins.

The outlook of the 2022 Thibodaux Tigers is very positive, but in a competitive district (Destrehan, Hahnville, Bourgeois, East St. John, Terrebone and Central Lafourche), the Tigers will be challenged. After a 3-3 district record last year, the Tigers will look to challenge Destrehan for the title in 2022.

“We’re just going to take it one week at a time,” Dugas said. “Like I tell all of the guys, the biggest thing for us is to just be 1-0 every week, that’s our goal, and if you add them all up in the end being 1-0 every week, then you get a chance to play for something special.”

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

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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…

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