The Parkview Baptist Eagles said goodbye to four-year starter Reggie Hayes after he led them to a Division II state championship in his final high school game.
Despite 18 seniors who celebrated on the floor of the Superdome departing, the Eagles will have a senior at quarterback and some tough senior running backs like Trent Kavannaugh and Preston Roberts. They will also provide plenty of leadership for an offense that, even with eight starters missing, really has an experienced offensive line coming back to block for new quarterback McKane Kinchen.
"He's a very, very bright student and he knows the football game well, he knows our offense well. So he's one of those guys that we feel like can step in and knowing the offense as well as he does is something that's going to help him tremendously," said head coach Jay Mayet
"Definitely have a lot of confidence coming out, because we did what not many people thought we could do. We beat U-High who had been keeping us down. It definitely gives us a great field presence now. People think that 'Oh we've got to beat them.' They won the state championship," Kinchen said.
Kinchen, the son of former LSU and NFL player Brian Kinchen, is stepping in at quarterback. He will team up with wide receiver Caleb Meaux, another senior in the passing game, as both try to step into some of the roles left by the departing seniors.
The spring game against another champion Kentwood, showed just how much Kavannaugh will mean to the Eagles again this year from his toughness in the running game along with junior Connor Joffrion and Preston Roberts, especially around the goal line, to his leadership in all three phases, to spearheading a defense.
Mayet may be missing eight on offense, but seems very confident in the next man up concept starting with Kinchen.
"You know a lot of people don't think we throw the football, but we do at times. So we're expecting a great year from him. And Trent Kavannaugh's been our MVP for the last couple of years, not only on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively, but his specials teams as well," Mayet said.
"I'm at the school more for football than I am at home, so he's basically like my dad. It's more than football though. He just teaches you to be a better person and how to be better in life. With that comes football. And then McKane, even before I went to Parkview I was with him, so we've had a bond for a very long time," Kavannaugh said.
"[Trent's] definitely one of the best leaders on the team. He's definitely a warrior on the field. He never slacks. He's always there to pick you up when you fall," Kinchen said.
Linebacker Matthew Murla in the spring game against Kentwood, setting the tone for a defense that returns just about everybody.
"Our numbers are down as far as rosters spots go. So I think the biggest challenge will be depth. If we can stay away from the old injury bug within reason, I think we'll be okay and we'll be able to be competitive," Mayet said.
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