Ellender offense posting big numbers

Colonels score first win of the season
September 25, 2012
Expect the unexpected with prep football this season
October 2, 2012

The Ellender football team used to be on the receiving end of crooked number offensive performances.

Now, they are the ones delivering them – every, single week.

The Patriots’ powerful offense is making a splash throughout Louisiana. With a mix of size, speed and skill, Ellender is arguably the most exciting unit in the area, averaging 40.8 points per game in 2012, including two 60-point showings.

“We work hard and we play hard,” receiver Dan Mitchell said. “You practice the way you play, so we practice hard. Everything everyone is seeing out here is a product of that – hard work and dedication.”

“I had no idea this was coming,” junior quarterback Dustin Creppel added. “I knew we were talented, but I didn’t think we’d be blowing teams out and be scoring 60 points and 68 points and doing everything like that. It’s crazy. We feel like a powerhouse.”

The leader of Ellender’s offense is Creppel – one of the best quarterbacks in Louisiana.

The Patriots’ junior has put up video game numbers early in this season within the team’s pass happy offense. Creppel already has posted 1,590 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year.

Creppel was the Louisiana leader in touchdowns after four games.

He likely still is after slinging for three more scores Friday against Northlake Christian. Louisiana’s statistical leaders after Week 5’s game were not available at press time.

“We have an awesome, awesome quarterback,” Patriots receiver Jarred Turner said. “We’re so blessed to have him. I can’t say anything more than that. We’re just blessed.”

“All I can say about that man is that he’s great,” Ellender receiver Thomas Johnson added. “That man’s going somewhere. He’s perfect to me. I know they say nobody’s supposed to be perfect, but that man’s pretty dang close. He’s great. We love him.”

The reason for Creppel’s success is multi-layered.

The first is because of the junior’s arm – he can make all of the throws.

Creppel can hit short, intermediate and deep targets, all with pinpoint accuracy.

That ability to spread the field keeps defenses guessing and the Patriots’ matriculating the football down the field.

“He’s a special player,” Ellender coach Terry Washington said. “We lost him to an injury last year and we really learned how valuable he was because we weren’t the same. He does a lot of things well and he’s just a wonderful player and a good kid.”

Another reason for Creppel’s success is his agility.

The Patriots’ quarterback is not exactly a dual threat quarterback, but he is more than capable of extending plays with his feet.

Once outside of the pocket, Creppel has the rare ability to remain poised and keep his eyes down the field.

Several of his touchdowns this year have come on plays where he scrambled outside the pocket and hit targets who broke off their routes and found open space.

More important than those plays, according to teammates, are plays where Creppel eluded rushers and either threw the ball away or completed passes for short gains to keep Ellender’s offense on schedule.

“We know we can never give up on a play,” Ellender halfback/receiver Ralph Singleton said. “The play isn’t over until the whistle blows with him. He can get out of the smallest little holes and look up the field and make a play.”

“I don’t know how I do that,” Creppel added with a laugh. “In the heat of the game, it just sort of happens.”

Arm and agility are nice.

Weapons are even better.

Creppel has tons of those.

Ellender’s offense is loaded with big-play threats like Mitchell, Turner, Singleton, Johnson and Kevin Lucien – all of whom are more than capable of making big plays down the field.

On five wide receiver sets, Creppel said he has the luxury of having five targets who could be No. 1 receivers at other schools.

“It’s amazing,” the quarterback said. “I love it. What quarterback wouldn’t? It’s like a dream to have those guys running out there. They are all so talented. They all provide their own skill sets and they can all make plays. It’s just great.”

“I think we might have the best core group of wide receivers in this area,” Washington said. “All of those guys feed off of one another and complement one another. It’s good to have that many solid playmakers. That drives our offense.”

With the firepower in their back pockets, Ellender now wants to carry its turnaround season into district play.

The Patriots are currently 3-2 and sit at No. 22 in the latest LHSAA Class 4A power rankings.

Ellender opens district play Friday night in a road game with Assumption.

The team will then play undefeated Morgan City at home on Oct. 11.

To get into the playoffs, the Patriots likely will need to get five total wins on the season.

They believe they have the offense to make it happen.

“We are really hoping to push ourselves and get into the playoffs,” Creppel said. “That’d be huge for us. We like the way things are headed. I don’t see any reason why we can’t make it happen.”

“This year, we’re just so much better and we’re so much more competitive,” Washington added. “It’s just up to us to clean up some things and progress as the season goes on to become a better football team.

“Having the firepower that we have helps, of course.”

The Ellender football team breaks the huddle during a practice this summer. The Patriots are one of the area’s best stories this year with a 3-2 record. The source of that surge is an offense that is averaging more than 40 points per game.