Tri-Parish Media Day

H.L. Bourgeois football coach Ryan Fournier perhaps said it best.

"It feels like Christmas Eve right now," Fournier said. "Everyone is ready to wake up, see the gifts under the tree and roll."

Fournier was one of about 20 local football and volleyball coaches to turn out at Tri-Parish Media Day, hosted by the Terrebonne General Medical Center Community Sports Institute on Wednesday night in Houma.

Local coaches expressed optimism throughout the event, which serves as an opportunity for local media to get preseason information from coaches before games begin.

"Everyone is excited right now," Central Lafourche football coach Keith Menard said. "If you're not excited right now, then there's probably a big, big problem."

On the volleyball side, our area is loaded again with several teams fresh off deep trips in the playoffs.

Vandebilt has won the State Championship in back-to-back years and Coach Greg Castillo said his team is embracing expectations knowing that while they have talented players coming back, there's also a big bulls-eye on his team's chest.

"We will have to be ready and better," Castillo said. "And we know that."

Other local challengers are E.D. White, H.L. Bourgeois, Terrebonne, South Terrebonne and others who all are coming off strong 2018 seasons.

But perhaps the story of prep volleyball locally is the depth in the area and just how many teams are going to be capable of playing at a high level.

Central Lafourche, Thibodaux and Ellender had difficult seasons last year, but coaches at all three programs said their teams are ready to rock and get back to postseason contention.

"We have such great chemistry right now," Thibodaux volleyball coach Carley Martin. "We have work to do. We're far from perfect. But I think our girls really like one another and are really playing together and that just matters so much in the course of a season."

In football, parity is somewhat the story of the year.

Coaches at Media Day said every, single local district is going to be loaded with talent and trying to pick preseason favorites proved a chore.

In Class 5A, Terrebonne is among the favorites on paper, but coach Gary Hill said he's looking to see how his team makes up for some of the seniors they're having to replace off last year's team.

Fellow challengers like Central Lafourche, Thibodaux and H.L. Bourgeois are hopeful, as well.

In Class 4A, all bets are off with literally every local team having high hopes - including Ellender, South Terrebonne, South Lafourche, Vandebilt Catholic, Assumption and Morgan City.

"There are no weeks off," Ellender football coach David McCormick said.

And in Class 3A, E.D. White has a first-year head coach with Kyle Lasseigne at the controls for his second tenure.

Lasseigne said he's grateful for another chance to lead a program, adding that he's eager to put how much he's evolved as a coach into action.

"I'm doing a lot of things differently," Lasseigne said. "Back in my first tenure, I was doing too much. I look back now and see that I have to let my coaches coach and we're doing that."

But Wednesday night wasn't about X's and O's and schemes - it was about a unified excitement for high school sports to be here again.

H.L. Bourgeois volleyball coach Peter Verret said the start of a new year is always exciting, adding that everyone is on a level playing field once again.

Verret said he can't wait for games to be played, adding that even for an experienced coach, it's always fun to see the joy in the kids.

"It's the best time of the year," he said. "It always is."

Follow Casey on Twitter for more.

Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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