ST. AMANT, La. (WAFB) - Sportsline Summer Camp stop No. 49 is St. Amant, where the Gators started school Thursday morning and can’t wait to start their season at “The Pit” on September 6.
David Oliver has been the head coach for a dozen years and he’s got two dozen seniors back from a seven-win team.
The Gators suffered regular season defeats at the hands of quality opponents like Lutcher, East Ascension, and Catholic High.
They have got two new quarterbacks but will need to replace No. 2 K.J. Franklin, who was “Mr. Everything” for the offense after producing more than 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. He landed a scholarship in Thibodaux with Nicholls State.
Senior Lathan Vaughn is one of the seniors on the team. He has inherited Franklin’s jersey number and hopes he can handle the role for a team that is strong on the line of scrimmage but inexperienced across the board when it comes to the skill positions.
“It’s a lot to live up to, considering he was one of our best running backs to come through this program,” said Vaughn. “And being able to wear his number and all that, growing up behind him, I learned a lot from him last season. He taught me a lot of things - how to be a running back. I learned pretty much everything I know from him, watching him play and everything.”
“I feel like we have some experience this year at O-line,” said offensive lineman Isaak Theriot. “We have some guys who got some playing time last season. And I feel like we have a lot of size and really good footwork.”
Three of the Gators’ four losses, including a first-round playoff defeat, were one-score games. So, the seniors are optimistic 2019 could be even better.
“Three losses last year, seven points or so, and then one overtime loss,” said senior linebacker Reece Nelson. “So, our emphasis this offseason has been about being able to finish, playing all four quarters, and then overtime if we need to.”
“You know, 7-4 last year kind of bothered them,” Oliver added. “We lost one in overtime, we lost two by less than a touchdown. We had our chances in all three of those games to win. And, a lot of teams would be satisfied with seven wins and seven or eight years making a trip to the playoffs and feel pretty good about it, but they didn’t feel good about it. They felt like they left something out on the table and I feel like this group of kids is going to do the best they can to get back to winning in the playoffs.”
The Sportsline Summer Camp tour will visit East Feliciana on Friday.