The Lafayette High football is focused on the present and nothing else.
The Mighty Lions are coming off a possible foundation-building season in which the program ended a pair of long-standing losing streaks and finished the season with three wins — a stark improvement over going winless in 2017.
With 10 starters returning from last year’s team, there is optimism that Lafayette High could take yet another step in District 3-5A play this season and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
All Lafayette High games can be heard live on 97.7 The Rewind.
Lafayette High coach Rob Pool though makes sure his Mighty Lions though are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the expectations of the future.
“Our philosophy is to be 1-0,” Pool said. “We want to be 1-0 every day so we try to not get too far ahead. And you can’t worry about yesterday. So every day you have a clean slate. That is what we try to drive into them.”
Lafayette High will be taking the mindset into the season while being led by its dynamic junior dual-threat quarterback Xan Saunier — who came off the bench to lead the team to a win over Patterson in Week 3 last season which snapped a 12-game losing streak.
Saunier has impressed Pool and the staff with his dedication and intelligence, including coming into the coaches’ office and drawing up his own plays sometimes inspired by playing EA Sports’ Madden.
“It is the little things,” Saunier said. “Last year I knew all the progressions and everything about the playbook. This year I am learning about blitz pickups and protections, where the Mike linebacker is at and really studying the defense. That way there is no surprises ever.”
“He is like a coach on the field,” Pool added. “He has been giving us fits in the pass skelton drill at practice. He is the smartest high school quarterback I have ever been around.”
Saunier will be playing behind an experienced offensive line. Miles Mouton has been moved from right tackle to center, Sean Gautreaux will start at right guard while former defensive lineman Greg Mouton will line up now at right tackle.
Pool says the line may be “the biggest we have had since I have been here.”
There will be some new faces at the skill positions.
Kavon Valliere is moving from the slot to the X wide receiver spot and will be the most veteran in a young wide receiving corps.
The Mighty Lions will need to find a replacement for all-district running back Corren Norman. According to Pool, Norman’s replacement may two different players. Jason Sam and Acadiana High transfer Derezz Landry who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules.
“They are both versatile kids,” Pool said. “They run routes for us sometimes and split them out on the boundary.“
Lafayette High’s defense is switching to a 4-3 base, with plenty of dime packages, and the strength will be the defensive line which returns Micah Williams and Hunter Welch. The back end meanwhile has the versatile Oliver Craddock (safety-linebacker hybrid) and Simeon Jones at safety.
Williams believes that the defense is better equipped to play better by taking advantage of their strengths, and then making sure the Lions defense finish plays.
Williams added, “Make sure that you are just not there but that you are to make the tackle and get the stop. We have to make sure we are finishing the play. If we can do that we can take that next step.”
Lafayette High Schedule
9-6 Jeanerette at Lafayette High
9-13 St. Martinville at Lafayette High
9-20 Patterson at Lafayette High
9-27 Comeaux at Lafayette High
10-04 Sulphur at Lafayette High
10-11 Lafayette High at New Iberia Senior High
10-18 Lafayette High at Barbe
*10-24 Lafayette High at Southside
11-01 Sam Houston at Lafayette High
11-08 Lafayette High at Acadiana
*Thursday Night Game