The high turnover in coaches in the Bayou area impacts teams from the River River-based District 7-5A.
Assumption, Ellender, South Lafourche and South Terrebonne of District 8-4A have new coaches and the changes have implications for District 7-5A.
With Keith Menard’s move to Assumption, that created an opening at Central Lafourche, which has been filled by Aaron Meyer.
The district also has another change with Tawaskie Anderson, a one-time Ellender, head coach, taking over at H.L. Bourgeois after a successful stint at Oaklawn Junior High in Houma.
Central Lafourche filled its vacancy by tabbing Meyer, who spent the last three years as head coach at White Castle.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Meyer said of the Central Lafourche job. “I’m elated with it; just happy to get to work. Anytime you get a chance to be in 5A, and definitely to be in this River Parish district is definitely a blessing. We are just trying to help Central Lafourche do the best we can with what we have and try to make that climb to where we want to be at the top.
“The competition in this district makes every week is like a state championship game. We’re excited to play against them. We are excited to moving in and doing what we can as far as just installing our ideals and fighting for that district crown.”
Every game in league play, said Meyer, will be a battle.
“With Destrehan, Hahnville and East St. John, Terrebonne now, Thibodaux always, and H.L. Bourgeois, everybody has an opportunity to be one of those programs in 5A. We definitely week-to-week are fighting for a state championship battle,” he said.
So just how do the Trojans make up ground against a number of well-established programs in the district?
“With us, it’s just developing. It’s getting our offense and our big guys able to fight in the trenches. There’s always strong running backs in 7-5A, so our defensive guys have got to good and we’ve got to have a strong running back, also,” the new Central Lafourche coach said.
Meyer is no newcomer to the area. A native of Luling, Meyer played high school football at John Curtis and college ball at UCLA. After getting his degree, Meyer transferred and played one last season at Nicholls while working in his teacher’s certification.
His coaching experience prior to serving as head coach at White Castle included stints as an assistant at Washington-Marion, South Plaquemines, and St. James.
“I’ve been around a little bit and saw some good programs. I worked for Dwain Jenkins, worked with Robert Valdez for a spring and seen a lot of these great coaches we have in our area. I was brought into the game by Terrance Williams, he ended up with the LHSAA before retiring,” said Meyer.
The biggest difference between what the Trojans will look like under Meyer and the style of play under Menard, the new coach said, will be a faster pace.
“We will be similar in the fact that we will be lined up similarly. We will still be spread and we will be 3-3-5. Defensively, we will try to get the ball back. Offensively, we will try to put it in the (end) zone as much as possible. With our special teams, we definitely will try to game-change and give us an opportunity to score from a shorter place,” said Meyer.
The coronavirus has altered the Trojans’ approach to summer workouts, like it has other teams. The biggest concern for the new coach, Meyer said, is just getting everyone on the team comfortable with one another.
“Anytime you are a first-year coach, the biggest thing is getting to know the kids and be around them. That’s tough as a full group because of coronavirus. It has added some small challenges but not a lot,” said Meyer.
Anderson new coach at H.L. Bourgeois: The HLB job represents Anderson’s second stint as a high school head coach in Terrebonne Parish.
He was head coach at Ellender, guiding a program that has struggled throughout its existence on the football field throughout its existence on the high school level.
Anderson’s Ellender teams went 15-69 in nine years with one playoff appearance.
After leaving Ellender, Anderson had a successful stint at Oaklawn Junior High in Houma. He takes over a Braves teams that has had their own struggles, going 3-17 over the past two seasons.
Turning the HLB program around will be no easy task, now when the district competition includes the likes or more established programs like Destrehan, Hahnville, East St. John, Terrebonne, and Thibodaux.
“It’s a challenge no matter what district you are going to be in,’ said Anderson. “This is a very competitive district. I’ve been in it already and I know what to expect. We just have to come out and be prepared to compete and have the kids ready to play. In due time, we will turn H.L. Bourgeois around and be a competitor in our district. We just have to play our ‘A’ game. I call it (District 7-5A) the SEC of high school football.
Anderson said he has learned from his previous stint as a head coach.
“What I learned from that is we just have to put the players in the best position to allow them to be successful,” the new HLB coach said. “The situation (at Ellender) was we didn’t have numbers. We have the numbers at H.L. Bourgeois. It’s just getting those guys to believe in themselves, each other, and what we are doing as a program to change things around.
“We are looking to improve every week and get better every week, and hopefully, that transitions into wins.”
Like all other coaches and programs, the coronavirus has altered the state of affairs as Anderson attempts to turn around the Braves.
“It’s a challenge this football season but everybody has to go through the same challenge,” Anderson said. “We are just working the guys out with body workouts and conditioning. As the phases change, we are going to change and adapt what we are doing to face the season and win.”
“Nothing is perfect. It’s a fluid situation,” he continued. “You just have to adapt with the phases. That’s the hardest part, to get the kids to understand we can only do what we are allowed to do. They are used to doing 7-on-7 and different things like that. We just can’t do that right now.”