Central Catholic was three wins away from its ultimate goal in 2011.
This year, they believe they have another team poised to make a run at the Superdome.
The Class 1A state championship is on the minds of the Eagles again this year as the team returns a lot of the skill position players they’ve relied upon to reach the quarterfinals each of the past two seasons.
“Advancing in the playoffs is tough – make no mistake about it,” Central Catholic coach David Fuhrer said. “And the farther you go, the harder your opponents will be, of course. But last year, we lost to the team who eventually became the champion and we were right in the ballgame until the fourth quarter.
“This year, with a lot of returnees, we’re excited to make another push. We’re right on that hump. To make that last push, we just have to limit our mistakes.”
Offensively, the Eagles will return the core of its 2011 unit that was one of the most explosive in the area.
Quarterback Josh Singleton will anchor the Eagles’ offense for another season.
The three-year starter was one of the area’s most steady signal callers last year.
Fuhrer said he had a productive summer and is ready to have a strong senior season.
“Having a quarterback with that much experience in any program is a huge plus,” Fuhrer said. “Josh has worked hard all summer and we expect him to be very solid.”
But Singleton also has some of his top weapons back, too.
Four-year starter Dontrell Brown returns at receiver and Tyler Hoffpauir will also return among the Eagles’ top targets.
They will be joined by three returning starters along the offensive line.
Each of those players will have to do a little bit extra in 2012 to offset the loss of All-State performer Lloyd Grogan, who has graduated from the program and continued his career at Louisiana Tech.
“Lloyd was a great, great football player and he will be sorely missed around here,” Fuhrer said. “He was one of those versatile guys who could play pretty much anywhere on the field. But we still have plenty talented kids still here who can do some of those things, too and fill into that role. We look forward to seeing how everyone responds when we ask them to step up a little bit.”
On defense, the Eagles will hinge their hopes on its experienced secondary.
Singleton, Brown and Luke Landry return from a group that has more versatility than most.
“All of those guys can play any of the positions along the secondary that we need them to play,” Fuhrer said. “They are all interchangeable, so they give us a lot of options that we can use there. Corner, safety, anything we need, they have experience there. We have a lot of depth in that secondary.”
On the defensive line, the Eagles also have a depth of experience and have able bodies from top-to-bottom of the depth chart.
If the team is inexperienced anywhere along its roster, the coach said it would be at linebacker where the Eagles lost much of its 2011 haul.
“We’re a little bit thin right there, I guess you can say,” Fuhrer said. “It’ll be up to some of our younger kids to step up and fill the voids that we have.”
The ultimate goal for the Eagles always is the state championship. In each of the past two seasons, Central Catholic has been a few breaks away from punching its ticket to the semifinals.
With so many players going both ways in 2012, Fuhrer said he wants his team to make its own luck through conditioning.
The coach said he challenged his roster all summer to be in the best possible shape that it could be to prepare for the season.
So far, the coach likes what he sees.
“We need them to be ready because we have a lot of guys who we are relying upon for a lot of snaps,” Fuhrer said. “If we can stay healthy for that point of the year and peak and have our kids in tip-top condition, then I think we have a chance to get back to the same spot as we did a year ago, if not further. It’s definitely our goal to try and make another run this year.”