East St. John managed to reach the .500 mark to conclude the 2016 regular season before falling to Barbe in the opening round of the playoffs to conclude 5-6. An early season stretch may be the key for the Wildcats to improve upon those numbers this year under third-year coach Alden Foster.
After opening the season at Plaquemine, East St. John played the next two non-district games at home against West Jefferson and McDonogh 35.
“Plaquemine is a good football team. They went to the quarterfinals last year and lost to McDonogh 35 that we play Week 3, so you are talking about two playoffs teams and a West Jeff that has improved every year. You get a chance for quality tests before you go into a tough district,” said Foster.
The West Jefferson and McDonogh 35 games, coupled with district openers against District 7-5A foes Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois, will give the Wildcats four-straight home games.
“Central Lafourche is a team we’ve had a shootout with the last two years and they will be a lot better. H.L. Bourgeois is an improved team,” said Foster.
East St. John will then hit the road for games at Destrehan and Terrebonne.
“Destrehan is going to be Destrehan. They have the big running back and they have the sophomore quarterback, who played some last year,” said Foster, referring to John Emery and J.R. Blood, respectively. “Terrebonne was sophomore laden last year and has a lot coming back.”
The Wildcats are back at home for a Week 8 contest against Hahnville.
“They still have Mr. Everything in Anthony Williams,” Foster said of Hahnville.
East St. John then closes out its district slate at Thibodaux in Week 9, followed by a non-league game at home against South Lafourche.
“To me, Thibodaux has the most talent across the board in the district,” Foster said. “Not taking anything away from Destrehan and Hahnville, but Thibodaux will always have a lot of athletes.
“I don’t know a lot about South Lafourche, but from what everybody tells me, they are a bunch of hard-nosed players that will play hard.”