Last season, the East Iberville Tigers finally had a break through. The team ended their four-season winless drought after handing a blowout defeat to parish rival St. John Eagles in their first district game of the season.
In the midst of change this summer, East Iberville found a new head coach to help in the rebuilding of the program. Though he is technically new to this team, he is not new to the school. Ron Lejeune was head coach at East Iberville High in the late 90’s and has returned to bring the Tigers to glory once more.
“It is pretty special to come back and see former students that have grown up, have kids, have a good job,” Lejeune said. “It makes me feel like I had a little something to do with that.
“I just wanted to come back and try to do some good again. We did some good twenty years ago. I see how MSA-West is working with Plaquemine and I said ‘we can get the same thing going here’.”
Nearly 40 student-athletes, students at EI and MSA-East, showed up to the summer football program at East Iberville, and Lejeune expects more to join in once the school year gets rolling.
Though the team may have the numbers this season, what they will lack is experience, according to Lejeune. The team is only returning seven starters to the field this season and Lejeune is starting five freshmen on the defensive side of the ball. Some good roster news, however, is that the Tigers will have nine seniors in their lineup, though only four of them played last season.
He does expect a few good things from a few standouts, however. Senior Ricky Morris, who has not played since his freshman season, dominated for the Tigers at running back and linebacker this summer. Expect more of the same when the regular season kicks off.
And, of course, an easy pick is senior quarterback Lyndell Joseph, who will return to the helm this fall. Some standouts on the defensive side of the ball include: linebacker Lester Joseph, freshman defensive end Cedrick Alexander and sophomore safety Mike Triplett.
Though the team is young this year, Lejeune has what he calls his best coaching staff he’s ever had. That includes the staff he had while coaching at 4A Tara and Belaire high schools. One key addition to the staff includes defensive coordinator Gary Burnett, who has won six state championships during his coaching career.
Last season’s outing was more of the same for the Tigers as they went 1-9, but they did have one bright spot when they earned their first win since the 2012 season and first over St. John since the Sunshine High School days.
Lejeune and his Tigers hope to use that win as fuel to their fire when they kickoff their season in September.
On Sept. 1, East Iberville opens their 2017 campaign at home against Slaughter Community Charter, followed by a Sept. 8 home matchup against Hamilton Christian.
Before opening district play, the Tigers will hit the road on a three-game road trip to take on University Academy of Central La., Tara and Houma Christian. They will return home to open district against Ascension Catholic on Oct. 6, followed by a road game at Kentwood, home again against Southern Lab, then close out the regular season with an Iberville Parish district tour against St. John (Oct. 27) and White Castle (Nov. 3).