South Terrebonne will be OK

Pitch with the pros at Kemper Williams Park in Patterson
October 21, 2015
52nd State Representative District to choose between 2
October 21, 2015
Pitch with the pros at Kemper Williams Park in Patterson
October 21, 2015
52nd State Representative District to choose between 2
October 21, 2015

Richard Curlin has had a Hall of Fame career during his three-decade tenure with South Terrebonne.

During his time as the Gators head coach, South Terrebonne has been one of the elite programs in the Houma-Thibodaux area. Under Curlin, the Gators have been almost an annual playoff contender, and often times, they’re among Louisiana’s elites. The legendary coach won the 1991 Class 4A State Championship – the highlight of his impressive resume. Many other times, Curlin’s teams were close – including last year when the Gators reached the State Quarterfinals.

But in 2015, South Terrebonne’s magic has disappeared and the Gators are a shell of their usual selves. This year’s South Terrebonne team is young – chalked full with freshmen and sophomore players throughout its varsity roster. The inexperience shows in a big way on Friday nights. South Terrebonne is the only local team without a win in the 2015 season, and they can’t mathematically have a winning season – even if they win their final three games of the season.

But for everything that’s gone wrong in Bourg this football season, I’m here to tell everyone today that there’s no real reason to panic. This football team is going to be fine long-term. Curlin knows what he’s doing – he’s arguably the best coach in our area, and he’ll right all of the wrongs that the Gators have in due time. Besides, if we think hard enough into our immediate past, we can see that this is a movie that we’ve all seen before. This isn’t the first time that the Gators rebuilt their program from the ground up with younger players.

Back in 2012, South Terrebonne did the same thing. It played a ton of underclassmen, took its lumps and then those players grew into the senior class that won 11 games last season.

With the process now repeated, there’s no reason for one to believe that the same can’t take place for the Gators. I’ll take it a step further today and say that it will happen and that this will be the Gators only tough season for a while.

After last season’s 11-win campaign, South Terrebonne said goodbye to a ton of players. Virtually all of the starters on that squad were seniors. On top of that, the program also lost its best sophomore, DeVontavean Martin, to a transfer.

That left South Terrebonne with a depth chart with little experience. When I visited Curlin in the offseason to do our prep football preview guide story, he admitted it might be a rough season for his team. He likened last year’s senior class to a giant wave that had finally reached the shore.

“You get waves of talent,” Curlin said. “It happens at every school. For us, last year’s wave of talent has reached the beach, and it did a lot of great things before getting there. But for us, now we’re back at sea looking to do it again.”

Like any wave out at sea, it’s been tough to get traction for this year’s group.

The Gators offense in 2015 has lacked the big-play spark that it had last season. South Terrebonne has scored just 15.8 points per game through the first six games of the season. A lot of those points have come late in games with the outcome not in question.

Last year, the Gators routinely put up 40 or more points in games – if not more. They were able to both run and throw the football with ease to keep opposing defenses in check.

South Terrebonne’s scheme is fine, but an array of small mistakes has limited the team from being successful. Sometimes it’s a missed block here or there. Other times, it’s a pre-snap penalty – or a fumble, or a halfback hitting the wrong hole.

Defensively, South Terrebonne’s youth has showed and the Gators have allowed 28 or more points in every game. The story is the same – small, nagging mistakes.

With added experience next fall, the game will slow down and those mistakes won’t likely be repeated.

It won’t happen overnight. Heck, the team might not even win a ton of games next season.

In 2012, South Terrebonne went 3-7. That team was sophomore-laden, and it showed – much like the team on the field in 2015. In 2013, they were older and jumped to 5-5. Last year, they were loaded with seniors and 11-2.

It happened once. It’s going to happen again.

You can’t beat 30 years of experience.

Richard Curlin is an awesome coach. He and his staff are going to figure out how to get the magic back and get the Gators program back on the winning track.•