Expectations high for East Iberville coach Justin Joseph
Two years as an assistant coach led to what may seem like a natural progression for Justin Joseph, who takes over this season as head coach of the East Iberville football team.
He takes over the program from Ron LeJeune, who left him with a program that has seen some of the greatest success for the St. Gabriel-based school.
Joseph takes the helm of a program that went 8-3 last season, won their first-ever playoff game and reached the quarterfinals, the farthest the Tigers ever went in postseason fare.
If that’s not enough, he will have 17 seniors on the lineup this season.
“We’ve got experience all around,” Joseph said. “We had shut down practice during the quarantine, but we were able go into helmet drills Monday, and it looks like they haven’t lost a step.”
The advancement also comes naturally for Joseph, who has worked his way through the ranks. The 2006 Istrouma High graduate played defensive back at Louisiana College in Pineville, graduated in 2011 and worked as a volunteer coach Woodlawn.
He served as head coach for a year at his high school alma mater and landed the spot at EIHS during the 2018 season.
The progression of the East Iberville program coincides with a significant time for the St. Gabriel area, Joseph said.
“There’s a very good atmosphere on this campus and the community in general,” he said. “The population is growing, new homes are developing and we’re getting attention throughout the parish, so this is an opportunity to grow our program as the community grows.”
His roster will include quarterback Rodrique Valnetine, who has broadened his repertoire since last season.
“Last year, he showed off his running ability, but we’re looking to spread things out a little more to show him throwing the ball,” Joseph said.
Other standouts include the agile junior center Lance Captain, along with running back Chris Boudreaux and tight end Cedric Alexander, who has been on the college radar.
The string of success after multiple losing seasons – some winless – has made the team determined to continue the upward mobility.
“It’s the law of momentum,” Joseph said. The worst thing we can do is get complacent and dwell on the past success rather than growing from it. It’s the mantra around here.”
A district championship – another holy grail for the program – will figure into the goals for the program.
“We have two very talented teams in District 5-1A with Ascension Catholic and White Castle, which eliminated us from the playoffs last season,” Joseph said. “So why not us? The best way to grow a program is to do better the next year, and that’s what we expect.”