Questions and Answers with White Castle High Football Coach Ferrante Dominique

Tryve Brackin
White Castle football coach Ferrante Dominique

Q: Coach the preseason football practices begin next week for your 2011 Bulldog team. This group is coming off a state championship season. How does that feel for you and your returning players?

A: It is an awesome feeling, a dream come true for both myself and all of my players. We set goals as a team and achieved them. The boys never doubted themselves and always looked forward with great attitude last year. The excitement from the title run has carried over to this summer. The boys have really hit the weights and are excited. We never lost our focus last year and our returning leaders from that team are stressing that with the newer players.

Q: Being the defending state 1-A champ, well, that is going to mean everyone in Single A football, as well as your district and pre-district opponents, will be gunning to knock you off the throne. What about that?

A: We cannot focus on others, only on what we do ourselves. That is a rule of thumb all coaches believe. We are not going to sit around and expect things to get tough. We have to get ourselves prepared for a new season and take care of our business.

Q: You have a core group of returning standouts who are leaders. Will that help the team overcome its loss of valuable seniors last year?

A: It should. How many coaches would love to have what I have going into the season. I have four returning all-state players…Tyre Bracken, Isaac O’Bear, Gerad Carlin, and Terrance Taylor. Bracken, O’Bear, and Carlin were Louisiana Sportswriters Assn. picks, while Taylor made the La. Football Coaches Assn. all-state team.

Those four are the heart and soul of this next team. Bracken showed he is one of the best running backs in the state, while Carlin proved he is as good a two-way lineman in Class A ball as anyone returning. O’Bear had 12 inceptions in the secondary last year, while Taylor had 10 pickoffs. O’Bear will play at quarterback and Taylor at wide receiver on offense. We also will try a few other wrinkles as the season progresses.

Q: You lost some key linemen to graduation. How does the line situation look beyond Carlin?

A: First of all, we lost 14 seniors to graduation and another three who did not make their grades and will be ineligible when the season starts.

But, we lost only two off our regular offensive line and we had some players get good backup experience last season. Good players with solid experience return in Dedrick Gore, Xavier Coleman, and Jared Little. Gore and Coleman will likely play on the defensive line as well, but we have some new linemen who will give us depth on both sides.

The defense will be solid with O’Bear, Taylor, and linebacker Tyrie Lang added to the unit. Lang will help us on offense as well at running back and wide receiver.

Q: What is the story on the summer weight room workouts? You have mentioned them to me several times in recent weeks.

A: The boys have great attitude about work. None of these boys are afraid to work. They come in early each workout day and they will try and stay later. I have had some try to sneak in to workout. Others have gone elsewhere to workout when we aren’t holding workouts. I’m not kidding, these boys work hard, and it rolls over to academics as well.

Q: How so in academics?

A: The team, as a whole, hits the books regularly, plus they always attend study hall when school is in session. Our average GPA (Grade Point Average) is either 2.7 or 2.8. Every football player who graduated is academically eligible for college.

Ronald Martin is going to LSU and Mark Allen to Louisiana College for football. Leo Jones and Jonathan Roberts are going to UL Lafayette for track. Henry Jackson is attending LSU on an academic scholarship, while Jared Martin is going to Southern on an academic scholarship. Shaquille Armstead and Damarius Zachary are going to Dodge City Community College to play football. Thirteen of our 14 football-playing senior graduates are attending college in the fall. One is going into the military service. I would say we did just fine academically last year.

Q: How does your 2011 schedule look?

I always try to schedule tough competition in the pre-district part of the schedule. I did so again, even though we had Riverside Academy and Donaldsonville drop off it. We play Glen Oaks, Central Catholic, University High, Redemptorist, and Port Allen. We scrimmage Morgan City High and play Plaquemine High in a jamboree again. I would say that is a good non-district schedule for a Single A school.

Our district schedule helps us as far as being home for what we expect will be our two toughest opponents. We host both West St. John and St. John at our place.

Q: And, what does your staff look like this preseason?

We lost Lionel Brown and that was a devastating loss because he did so much for our football team, and our track team. He was one of the best support coaches I’ve been around.

Right now our staff is down to Coach Glen Lee, Coach Corey McGee, and me. Hopefully, we can get a volunteer coach or two to help us. Right now, Plaquemine High and East Iberville have bigger staffs, but then again, we are a defending state champions.