Nate Frye was the best football player in the short-lived history of the Houma Christian football program.
Replacing the all-everything quarterback won’t be easy this fall for the Warriors.
But the team believes it has enough capable hands to do the job.
Finding a substitute for Frye’s massive output and taking the next leap forward is on the minds of everyone at the small local school as the 2013 football season nears.
“It’s going to have to be a team effort for us to get that done,” Warriors coach Chuck Battaglia said. “We scored a lot of points last year. It’s going to take a group effort for us to replace Nate and some of the other guys that we’ve lost – that’s for sure.”
Offensively, Houma Christian returns six starters – an even mix of skill players and linemen.
Quarterback Drake Battaglia will take over for Frye under center.
He does so after serving as the former quarterback’s top receiver in 2012.
As one can probably guess by the names, the young Battaglia is the son of the Warriors’ head coach.
Proud papa said his son has progressed well this offseason and is in line to do a quality job for the team’s offense.
“He’s put in a lot of time with it – he’s picking up the offense well,” Chuck Battaglia said. “He was our top receiver last year and now we’re asking him to play quarterback. He has the talent and ability to do it. It’s going to be a learning process, but he just needs some game time under his belt.”
The quarterback agrees.
Drake Battaglia said that he thinks he will have a solid season for the Warriors.
His confidence stems from his belief that he learned from the best in Frye.
“The coaches have been looking at me to do some extra things – they’ve been putting a little more onto my shoulders,” the quarterback said. “But I think we have a lot of other solid players here to help out. I think we have good running backs, good receivers and a good line. I think it’s a good mix.”
The offensive line Battaglia mentioned just might be the strong suit of the Warriors’ offense.
Linemen Noah Callais and Jonah Albares return to provide the muscle and strength for Houma Christian’s front line.
Chuck Battaglia said the Warriors will rely heavily upon controlling the trenches in the upcoming season.
“Noah is a senior returning and Jonah is also a returning starter,” Battaglia said. “Both of those kids were All-District selections for us. Those two guys will be able to help us. We lost some players at some other positions, but we have four of our five linemen back in our line, so we’re excited about that experience that we have there. That’ll be big for us.”
Callais and Albares agreed and said they think the team will be able to control the line of scrimmage.
“We like having that much experience up front,” Callais said. “That’s big for any football team. We want to give Drake time so he can see the field and spread the ball around to our guys.”
“If we can get a push, it will definitely help our playmakers,” Albares added. “I think the people on our line trust one another to work together and do a great job for our offense.”
Because the Warriors are a smaller program, a lot of the team’s offensive contributors also star on the defense.
But the team’s depth and experience on that side of the ball isn’t as great.
The Warriors return five starters on that side of the ball, including Callais and Albares who man the line.
Coach Battaglia also said linebacker John Broussard is worth watching, as is lineman Abram Miller
“John was one of our leading tacklers last year,” Battaglia said. “We’re really going to be relying on him to make a big impact for us. He has to make a lot of plays. Abram is new here, but he looks like he’s going to prove to be very talented. We hope he can have a big season, as well.”
But the big question on defense will be depth and whether or not the Warriors can withstand having multiple players playing both ways.
“We’re going to be young – it’s going to be a lot like last year. We just don’t have a whole lot of depth,” the coach said. “It’s up to our kids to be ready. Conditioning is going to be an integral part of us having some success there on that side.”
So with the season inching closer, the Warriors all say their main goal is advancing in the playoffs.
Houma Christian made the field last season, but was bounced in the first round.
Battaglia said he wants his team to peak at the right time so that they can make a push.
“We want to be ready at the right time,” Battaglia said. “The way the new playoffs are structured, there are some opportunities out there for teams like us. We want to make sure we’re playing our best late in the season when the games matter the most.”
Houma Christian contributors (from left) Jonah Albares, Drake Battaglia and Noah Callais pose before a fall practice. The Warriors are hoping to return to the playoffs in the new season. To do so, the Warriors will have to replace Nate Frye, who graduated from the program and is playing college football at UNO next season.