Xan Saunier is truly a student of the game.
Lafayette High’s starting quarterback spends his downtime absorbing as much knowledge as possible about being a quarterback. Saunier spends his free time breaking down Mighty Lion film on what he can do to increase his accuracy, improve his decision making, reading his keys and picking up blitzes.
The 6-foot, 190-pound junior signal caller though also finds inspiration and information from watching games of the collegiate and professional level. Many times Saunier will come across something during one of those games and then bring it to the coaching staff to add to the Mighty Lion playbook.
“I remember one time I watched Tua (Tagovailoa) at Alabama run this certain play with the tight end and it was a fake,” Saunier remembered. “I made sure to write the play down in my book because I wanted to talk to coach about it. The next day at practice I showed it to them and they laughed because they had seen it as well and were putting it in to the playbook.”
“Xan is a very mature leader that makes plays in the run games as well as distributing the ball to the right receiver,” Lafayette High head coach Rob Pool said.
That type of studious approach to playing quarterback as helped transform Saunier into one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in Acadiana.
In three games this season, Saunier has thrown for 408 yards with 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception, and has completed 63 percent of his passes. Saunier also has rushed for 68 yards on 9 carries with a rushing touchdown.
For Saunier, what he cares more about is the fact that he and the rest of the Mighty Lions have started the season undefeated. Lafayette High (3-0) begins District 3-5A play on Friday hosting crosstown rival Comeaux (1-2).
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the game can be heard live on The Rewind 97.7 FM.
“It is very exciting,” Saunier said. “Seeing all the guys come together and seeing firsthand that everything we have been preaching about for the past few years is starting to come into focus — that has been awesome. But we still have a lot of work to do, and that starts with me.”
Saunier doesn’t focus on his successes during a game, and rarely celebrates those moments afterwards either. Instead the Lafayette High quarterback focuses on the mistakes and miscues he made during the game. Saunier is more likely to study on the overthrown ball on a wheel route he threw or not seeing a blitzing linebacker around the edge than a touchdown pass.
“I am very critical of myself,” Saunier said. “If I have a good play it is already washed out by the next play. The mistakes are what going to hurts us in the end and holds us back. That is what I am focused on.”
That could explain Saunier’s approach this past offseason.
Despite having a good sophomore season, in which he threw for 881 passing yards and 11 touchdowns with 332 rushing yards and another score while starting seven games, Saunier spent the offseason constantly on developing his skill set as the Mighty Lions quarterback.
In addition to working with Lafayette High’s 7-on-7 team, Saunier attended camps at Tulane and University of Louisiana, and took part in a camp held by National Football Academies (NFA) down in Orlando.
“There is always something to get better at,” said Saunier who currently has a 4.2 GPA and is taking two AP classes this year. “There is always something for me to work on and improve day-to-day and week-to-week. I have to get a lot better for my team.”