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RA opens district play in tough South Plaquemines environment

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  • George Becnel
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  • October 03, 2017 - 4:19pm

File photosRunning back Ari Broussard (with football) will be one of the key cogs Riverside Academy will try to contain as the Rebels open district play at South Plaquemines.


Time marches on, especially in the life of a football coach.

“This is the latest in a series of events that makes me feel old. I coached Lyle Fitte in an all-star game his senior year at South Plaquemines. It’s an all-star game so everybody is a good player but he really stood out to me as a top-notch individual. It’s so refreshing to see when kids are truly good people and know how to act and know how to talk to adults. They have it figured out. To see him resurface himself as the head coach at South Plaquemines and giving back to the community that helped raised him, I know South Plaquemines is in good hands,” related Riverside coach Chris Lachney said.

Lachney and his Rebels (1-3) take on Fitte and the Hurricanes (3-2) when the teams meet Friday at South Plaquemines in the District 9-2A opener. The game will be podcast live on hurricanefootballnetwork.com.

District foes in the past, the last time the Rebels played at South Plaquemines, Riverside lost 12-6 in 2013. Deuce Wallace, then the Rebels’ sophomore quarterback who went on to finish his prep career in Tennessee and is now at Vanderbilt, was out of action in that game with a broken foot.

“That was the year we had an injury at quarterback and didn’t really have a backup. We just kind of experimented with a lot of things and it was just a bad situation,” recalled Lachney, who was Riverside’s defensive coordinator at the time.

Riverside is off to a 1-3 start, losing to the likes of Barbe, Rummel and De La Salle. In taking on South Plaquemines, Riverside finally faces an opponent in which the Rebels have a depth advantage.

We’ve been playing 5A schools and whatnot and depth has been an area of concern for us. This is an opportunity for us, we believe, that if we can pick up the tempo a little bit on offense, we can star wearing people down just from a conditioning standpoint,” said Lachney.

The 26-year-old Fitte, in his first season as Hurricanes coach, played for Cyril Crutchfield at South Plaquemines and has returned the team to the style of play of his mentor. In recent years, the Hurricanes have been more of an ‘I’ formation team playing with a tight end. Now, South Plaquemines has returned to its spread roots.

Directing the offense is junior quarterback Isaac Williams.

“He’s a kid who has played a lot of different positions, with quarterback being one of them. He’s a guy that can beat you with his feet and he can throw it enough to where if you don’t respect the pass, he can hurt you. There is never a shortage of speed at South Plaquemines and he fits right into that mold,” Lachney said of Williams.

If not in the hands of Williams, the ball is generally going to running back Elijah Bourgeois.

“He’s a super fast kid,” Lachney said of Bourgeois. “They like to get him the ball on the perimeter and stretch the field horizontally. He has a really great ability to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical once he finds a crease.”

A favored target for the Hurricanes is receiver Truce Williams.

“Their passing game is very one or the other – they are either throwing it very deep or they are throwing a screen. There is not a lot of intermediate stuff that they do. He’s certainly a guy they like to get it to on the screens. He’s a big body and they feel like if they can get the ball in his hands quickly, he is kind of mismatch with defensive backs in terms of trying to tackle him,” Lachney said.

Defensively, the Hurricanes are pretty straight forward, according to Lachney.

“They are an even front. They are a 4-3 structure and they are aggressive. They are not afraid to play man-to-man coverage and they don’t care who you are. They will be very aggressive with their blitzes – it’s either feast or famine. Somebody’s band is going to play at the end of that play; I just don’t know whose it is,” joked Lachney.

South Plaquemines’ top athlete, Lachney said, is Daron Powell.

“He does it on offense and defense. He is a guy you have to account for in all three phases,” said Lachney.

Another top defender is linebacker Trashaun Polius.

“Trashaun Polius is one of those linebackers that just runs around and tackles everything that looks like it’s wearing the wrong shirt,” Lachney said.

In the age of power points, Lachney said he doesn’t look at district play as a second season but more of a restart for his team.

“To me, it kind of breaks the season into thirds – pre-district, district and the playoffs – and it’s not really about winning a district championship as much as it is comparing yourself to where you were at the beginning,” the Riverside coach said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.