Before I get going, I’d like to personally wish a happy and prosperous New Year to every, single student athlete, coach and fan in the Houma-Thibodaux area.
Top to bottom, every guy and gal that I cover deserves a pat on the back for a job well done in 2015. The people who take the time out of their schedules to watch the games are worthy of a shoutout, too, because without their love of sports, my job would be a lot less interesting.
This issue marks my official sixth anniversary with this newspaper, and throughout the ride, I’ve build friendships and connections that will last forever – something I’m highly grateful for.
I’ve also seen some of the most exciting, entertaining games that I’d ever witnessed in my 28 years of living. To be able to witness those events are why I’d take my job over almost any other in the world, and for that, I feel extremely blessed and thankful.
Now, let’s get to business and delve into the meat of this final Casey’s Corner column of the year.
The 2015 calendar year was awesome for local sports, and I’ve had about as much fun this year than I have in any other year working at this paper.
We had good teams and good storylines across almost every sport, and the 11 high schools that I cover truly kept me on my toes at every turn.
We’ve done the best that we can to keep up with the grind and tell all of those stories, and several folks got a ton of ink in the process – stars like Harvey Allen, Zamariah “ZZ” Loupe and Tim Rebowe, among others.
But with a new year on the calendar, it’s time for other stars to rise up and shine in 2016 and make their marks on local sports.
Just a tip – keep an eye on these folks, because I promise you that each will be big-time newsmakers in the next year.
Pay no mind to the order. We’ve listed ‘em in alphabetical order to avoid confusion or competiton.
CASEY’S TOP 5 FOR ‘16
1. Terrebonne swimmer Alec Adams – Alec was on this list last year, and he proved us right, emerging as the area’s best swimmer and one of the top names in the state of Louisiana. With another year to train and prepare, we expect Adams to be even better in the new year. Adams is already a top dog, but he still has eyes on winning the state championship next fall. We’re not betting against him. He’s already shown in 2015 that he can do amazing things when in the pool.
2. South Lafourche DB/QB Brock Bailleaux – Brock is an unknown around the area, because he hasn’t been blessed with much varsity time at any sport just yet. He’s still just a freshman walking around the halls of South Lafourche. But the kid has the tools and could be a beast, and he could make his mark on multiple sports before it’s over. In football, Brock is a dynamic quarterback, who will have to wait his turn to start on varsity, but will make an immediate impact at defensive back. On the basketball hardwood, the up and comer is a heck of a post player, who can probably get a little burn for the Tarpons’ varsity in the 2016-17 season. We may be a year too soon for Brock’s ascent, but I’m going to roll the dice and say it’s going to happen.
3. South Terrebonne defensive lineman Louis Blanchard – When you stand 6-feet, 3-inches and weigh 270 pounds, it’s hard to hide from the crowd. But that’s exactly what Gators defensive lineman Louis Blanchard was able to do in 2015 – he was the quietest, dominant player in Louisiana. Blanchard is a freak up front for South Terrebonne – one of the most powerful defensive players in the area. Opponents ran away from Blanchard, because running at him was an epic failure. With another year left to play, Blanchard is a shoe-in to be First-Team All-State and a big-time college signee.
4. Vandebilt Catholic guard Andrew Robison – The Terriers have a freshman combo guard averaging 20 points per game. No, not at the freshman level. This kid is doing it on varsity, and is making himself known around Louisiana for his ability to score the ball. Andrew Robison is a young star – a young man averaging 19.9 points, 2.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Terriers in his first season with the team. Robison is new to the area – the son of first-year head coach Drew Robison.
5. Vandebilt halfback Brennan Rogers – There’s a workhorse being formed at Vandebilt Catholic. That would be Brennan Rogers – the tough, physical back who established himself as one of the area’s best. The Terriers aren’t afraid to feed Rogers, and routinely give him the ball 20, 30 or even 40 times a game if needed. He is a special player. He will have a huge, huge year for Vandebilt next year. The Terriers hopes will go as Rogers takes them. •