YOUNGSVILLE — Josh Fontenot is more than ready to coach his first varsity football game in more than two years.
Fontenot left his position as the head coach at Crowley High School in 2017 to build a program from the ground up. In the past two years, Fontenot has slowly built the Southside High Sharks from a junior varsity squad into a high school team in Class 5A.
From holding the school’s first practice in a field behind a local church to holding summer workouts in the parking lot of Youngsville Middle School, Fontenot has built the program. This Friday night, Southside High will play its first varsity game at Northside High School.
All Southside High games can be heard live on Mustang 107.1 FM.
“We are beyond ready,” Fontenot said. “You know the last two years has been an interesting process. It has been a long process that has gone by pretty quickly but it is time to start playing. Win, lose or draw it is time to get some real action.”
Southside, which will play its home games at Teurlings Catholic, becomes the first new public high school in Acadiana since Westgate High in Iberia Parish was created in 1999. The biggest difference between the two programs though is that Westgate began varsity play as a Class 3A team and was not placed in one of those formidable districts in the entire state District 3-5A.
“It is huge but to be honest we don’t talk about it,” Fontenot said. “It is there and we can’t change it. We are focused on week one and focused just on us for the past two years. There is nothing we can about who we playing in week eight or week nine until we get past week one.”
So who will exactly be taking the field for the Sharks?
The offense, which Fontenot describes as “spread-ish” will be led junior quarterback Dillon Monette who be throwing to a trio of targets in wide receivers Rhett Pelloquin and Jack Pruitt and senior tight end Connor Venetis.
The team’s 3-4 base defense will anchored by junior linebacker Cullen Holden and defensive lineman Trent Gilbert.
So what are the realistic expectations for the Sharks as they kick off their first season of varsity play? Fontenot refuses to put a number on what the goals are in this inaugural season. Instead the Southside High coach is simply worried about the opening week.
“It’s cliche’ and I know and its gets beat to death but we can’t look past week one,” Fontenot said. “Yes, everybody wants to win a district championship and get to the Dome — those are givens for any program but here at Southside we have to focus on just a week at a time. That is how we are going to build this program to succeed.”
Southside High Schedule
(All Home Games Played at Teurlings Catholic)
9-6 Southside at Northside
9-13 Church Point at Southside
9-20 Franklin at Southside
9-27 Southside at Barbe
10-04 Acadiana at Southside
10-11 Southside at Sulphur
10-18 Southside at Sam Houston
*10-24 Lafayette at Southside
11-01 Southside at Comeaux
11-08 New Iberia Senior High at Southside
*Thursday Night Game