Looking back to 2010 Iberville prep grid season…On eve of preseason practice
As preseason prep football practice cranks up in a matter of hours, PS SPORTS takes a look back today at the previous 2010 gridiron campaign.
One factor raised the 2010 Iberville Parish season above all others in a number of years…White Castle High School won the first state gridiron title in many campaigns for local teams.
Twice (1998 and 2006) St. John of Plaquemine came to the brink of a state title only to produce state runner-up titles. And then, in 2009, the SJHS Eagles marched all the way to a state semifinals berth before falling to the eventual state champion Haynesville High on a night of freezing rain and sleet at Plaquemine High’s Stadium.
Coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche had high hopes his 2010 St. John club would produce another title run last fall, but it would not happen. Struck by devastating rash of injuries, matched only by that suffered in 1997 by a previous SJHS grid team, the Eagles limped into the playoffs and went nowhere.
But, while the Eagles were hoping to reload a banner season in September of last year, White Castle High Coach Ferrante Dominique was telling anyone who would listen that his 2010 Bulldog team had the true grit and talent to go all the way to a championship in Class 1-A. And, he was right.
While WCHS and SJHS were getting ready for a huge district title battle, Class 3-A Plaquemine High was looking at a shot to share some of their district’s glory in one of the most evenly matched leagues in the state. The Green Devils finally had to settle for a spot in the mix, but not before their run-oriented offense put up huge point totals in a handful of impressive performances.
WCHS TAKES IT ALL:
The Bulldogs showed they had the stuff it took to win a 1-A crown early in the season when they battled a highly touted 3-A hosting Redemptorist High team almost toe-to-toe in a predistrict match.
The 2010 offense seemed to center around senior quarterback and defensive back standout Ronald Martin, quick junior running back Tyree Bracken, and four-year lineman Gerad Carline. However, Martin suffered a leg injury in the loss to Redemptorist that would end up haunting him all the way to the state championship game and into the early stages of a WCHS run for a second state title on the basketball court.
With the WC QB gimpy, Coach Dominique gave the ball more often than expected to Bracken and the junior turned into one of the top producing backs in the state. Meanwhile, the often suspect Bulldog defense, which took away victories from its talented offense the previous three seasons, got better and better as the season progressed.
The Bulldogs rallied back in the second half to turn a narrow scoring contest with St. John into a huge district win. And the Castlemen nailed down the league crown with a defensive 12-6 victory over an upstart West St. John High club that looms this coming season as a possible state contender.
WCHS met West St. John a second time to open the state playoffs and again the Bulldog defense stood tall in a 12-0 victory. The Castlemen had developed a “look”. Give the ball to Bracken and let him run, while the Bulldog defense held back top offensive playoff rivals. White Castle turned in postseason victories over Block High on the road, St. Edmund High at WC, and finally a near perfect 20-0 victory over a previously unbeaten Oberlin High host that had the state’s leading rusher. While the WCHS defense held the OHS standout to less than a hundred yards rushing, Bracken ruled the field and went nearly 200 yards on the ground.
The next week in the La. Superdome, Bracken and the Bulldog defense ruled again. The junior back set a 1-A title game standard with 250-plus yards rushing and the Bulldog defense held a pass-oriented Ouachita Christian club to 20 points with several game-changing pass interceptions.
Martin, who signed a grid scholarship with LSU to play in the defensive secondary, Bracken, Carline, and standout defensive back and backup junior QB Isaac O’Bear notched All-State first team honors, while Dominique was named Coach of the Year in 1-A.
THE INJURY BUG:
Coach Musemeche goes into a funk everytime one accidentally reminds him of the 2010 season. He felt he and his Eagles were cursed.
The words “fluke injuries” roll off his tongue with painful inflection. And one cannot blame him.
The very first game of the regular season the Eagles lost senior linebacker and running back standout (a Louisiana Tech signee) Warren Bates Jr. to a season-ending knee injury (on a fluke).
A couple of games later senior QB Mike Martinez, who was well on the way to what could have been a record Eagle quarterback season, blew his ankle to pieces in another “fluke situation” against hosting University High.
Still in the predistrict schedule, standout defensive end Nathan Voisin goes down with a season ending ankle break.
Those three injuries were devastating enough, but as the season continued standout senior linebacker and eventual new QB Kade Yarbrough played weekly with nagging injuries. Senior RB Tyler Shields and here and there other key players missed anywhere from a game to the rest of the season with injuries. It became like a computer virus so deadly that it began to melt down the plastic monitor body and mouse.
Weeks after the season ended, Musemeche began to lighten up and noted on one of his Plaquemine Sports Radio shows with PHS hoop Coach Denny Wright that the horrible rash of injuries helped add to the depth on this coming season’s Eagle club.
Despite all the injuries, junior RB Da’vante Williams, and a strong and productive SJHS offensive and defense line group, got the Eagles to finish the year 5-5 before suffering a narrow loss in the playoffs to Country Day High. By the end of district play the Eagles also had a shot at runner-up honors only to fall on a late touchdown, 21-14 to West St. John.
The PHS Green Devils had a real chance to win their 8-3A district on their home field in their league opener against Port Allen. They were in a close game to the end, but lost.
Plaquemine notched a repeat state playoff berth and matched St. John with a 5-5 regular season mark before they fell to top-ranked Notre Dame of Crowley on the road. Still, the Green Devils staggered observers with 50-plus-point district victories over Brusly and Livonia.
Darvin Butler, who signed with Nicholls State, quarterbacked a triple option PHS offense that chewed up yardage game after game. Coach Bob Howell had a bevy of speedy backs to go with Butler and their running game was impressive. Hakeem Deggs, Nick Thomas, Troy Jones, Julius Maracalin, and Myron Jack joined Butler in games in which the PHS rushing attack rolled up close to 500 yards.
What ended up keeping the Green Devils at .500 ball was a defense that had its share of breakdowns despite good efforts at times by returning standouts Davon Godchaux and Deondre Philson and departed seniors Decorey Brown and Treveon Hawkins.
A 0-10 SEASON:
While WCHS went to the top and SJHS and PHS avoided losing seasons and gained respect for their play, East Iberville High’s program continued to struggle with low enrollment and team participation numbers. By season’s end the Tigers closed with a 0-10 record and only 16 players dressed out for a 53-6 loss to parish/district rival White Castle.
It was Kelcy Dotson’s second season at the helm of the program and he continued to vow to build a feeder program and to improve varsity football. Nick Brooks, Lennet Little, Joseph Bailey, Reggie Brock, and Marlon Stewart emerged as solid players for EIHS, but Coach Dotson and his staff simply needed more of them.
At the time of this article, former North Iberville High head coach and veteran mentor Wayne Williams had been reassigned to EIHS. That gave Dotson two former NIHS head mentors and veterans Williams and Ron Allen as solid football assistants, along with John Young.