In week one of the prep football season, most teams are at full strength and the biggest headache coaches face are rust and breaking in young, inexperienced players.
But this Friday night marks Week 8, which means the youngsters have grown and matured as players.
Now, the big headache is handling the major injuries that will surely develop throughout the season.
Several of our teams are battered and bruised at key positions as the season heads toward its final weeks. Some are without quarterbacks; others are without defensive leaders. Everyone is scrambling to massage the replacements into shape before the start of postseason play.
“Anytime you have a young kid have to come into the lineup with an injury, it changes things,” Covenant Christian Academy coach Randy Boquet said. “It changes the way you game plan and it affects your whole team. The new kid wants to come in and replace the injured player, when in actuality, it’s a team effort. You always want to ease him into the lineup and have everyone on the team do a little bit more to make things run smoothly.”
Unfortunately, the 2014 season has been one in which several key names at prominent positions have gone down throughout the season.
No position has been hit harder than quarterback.
Four of our 11 local starting quarterbacks were not in the starting lineup in Week 7 thanks to an array of injuries – three are likely going to be sidelined for the season.
The least significant injury of the bunch is to Thibodaux quarterback Peyton Bonvillain, who didn’t start, but saw snaps in the Tigers’ blowout win against Terrebonne on Friday night.
Bonvillain’s injuries are not expected to be serious and his absence from the lineup was attributed to the punishment he took against Destrehan the previous week.
“We need him,” Tigers’ coach Chris Dugas said earlier in the season. “He’s a special football player and he’s come such a long way. We need him to stay as that catalyst that makes things in our offense work.”
But while Bonvillain licks his minor wounds and returns to the field this week, many others are done for the year.
At CCA, the Lions are without dynamic quarterback Marquel Daigle after he severely injured his knee in a dirt bike incident earlier this month.
Without Daigle, young Dylan Sharpe has been thrust into the team’s Wing-T attack, and so far, the youngster is unbeaten as the team’s starter, including a 21-14 win against rival Houma Christian on Friday night. In that game, the Lions broke a 14-all tie, scoring the game-winning touchdown late to secure the win.
CCA rushed for more than 300 yards in the win, trumping Houma Christian for a second-straight season.
A late-game rally orchestrated by a backup quarterback was also the storyline across-town in another Houma game on Friday night when Vandebilt beat Brusly, snapping the Terriers’ six-game losing streak to start the season.
Down 13-3 and in serious danger of losing a seventh-straight, quarterback David Yancey’s short touchdown run pulled the Terriers within three, setting up the team’s late, game-winning touchdown run to seal a 17-13 win.
Yancey is starting in place of injured Bailey Pere, who is out for the rest of the season with a severe knee injury.
“David has come in and has done a great job for us,” Vandebilt coach Jeremy Atwell said. “Losing Bailey was a big blow to us, but we knew coming in that David was capable of doing a nice job, as well.”
CCA and Vandebilt each rode a backup to a win in Week 7, but Terrebonne hasn’t quite had such luck. The Tigers lost starting quarterback Brett Bergeron to a broken arm in Week 5 against South Lafourche.
The Tigers fell 29-14 in that game with backup Dylan Bergeron taking most of the snaps in that game. Since then, Terrebonne has continued to struggle, falling 59-35 to Hahnville and 40-7 to Thibodaux. Following Brett Bergeron’s injury, Terrebonne coach Gary hill said that Dylan Bergeron was a capable backup who possessed the ability to make plays.
Facing three opponents with just a combined 8-13 record to close the season, the Tigers will look to settle in and rebound from their 2-5 start.
“I’m so proud of Dylan,” Hill said after the South Lafourche game. “He did everything we asked him to do, and he executed well considering the small number of reps he’s gotten with the first team. He’s continuing to grow.”
Week 8 of the prep season – the time where fans and coaches start to look at the power ratings numbers and the playoff seeding.
But it’s also the time where the healthiest teams survive and stay afloat. Just look on the sidelines of any prep game this weekend. There will be plenty folks in casts, slings, crutches and all of the rest.
“It’s an unfortunate part of our game, but it happens,” Boquet said. “When it does, you just have to raly together as a team and keep moving forward as best you can.”
Vandebilt Catholic quarterback Bailey Pere drops back and makes a throw during a game this season. Pere is one of four local starting quarterbacks who did not take the first snap for their team in Friday night’s game because of an injury. The Terriers won 17-13 against Brusly on Friday with backup David Yancey leading a pair of second-half touchdown drives to spark a comeback. Pere is out for the season.