St. Amant Gators (Source: WAFB)

ST. AMANT, La. (WAFB) - St. Amant is stop No. 22 Sportsline Summer Camp as the Gators kick off week four of our tour around south Louisiana high school football.

Something was very different about the Class 5A playoffs last season because the St. Amant Gators weren’t there. They finished 2019 with a 5-5 record after three straight losses to end the season.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: St. Amant Gators - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: St. Amant Gators - Part 2

“That’s when you expect a young team to step forward and really show some growth but we didn’t,” said head coach David Oliver. “We just looked like a young team still.”

But this year’s group is back working hard, even on the rainy days, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In his 13th year as head coach, Oliver said the strength of the 2020 team should be the secondary on defense and in the backfield on offense. It will begin with junior quarterback and second-year starter Cole Poirrier.

“He can hurt you with his legs and he does a good job in the pocket. Got a ton of experience last year. He’ll be a junior, so he has a ton of experience to go with,” Oliver added.

“I think we should be very, very good on offense,” said Poirrier. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be. We may be young on the O-line and different places but I think it will all work out. Coming into a new season ahead, more experience in the backfield and whatnot, I think we’ll have more confidence, which leads to more success. I think we’ll be more consistent, put together good, long drives that will wear out the defense. I think that will be a good quality for us to have.”

As everyone battles a shortened preparation period because of the coronavirus, Oliver explained one thing that could be working in their benefit is the longevity of his staff and leaders on the team.

“There’s a lot of things we do that we don’t have to talk about, that we just ... we know how each other will respond. We know what works and what doesn’t and we go after it. So, from that standpoint, with a more veteran team, we feel like we’re making the best of a difficult situation,” Oliver noted.

Some parts of Ascension Parish got up to 6.5″ of rain Monday morning (July 6) but that didn’t stop the Gators from moving indoors and training for the upcoming season.

Last season was certainly up and down for Oliver’s squad. His Gators won five of their first seven games, before ending on a three-game losing streak and failing to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

They’ve got eight starters back on defense and six on offense. The secondary is strong with Evan Bourgeois and Zack Gonzales, while offensively, Reggie Sims and Poirrier look to lead the way.

“Winning any of those last three games against district rivals Catholic, Dutchtown, EA, would have given us ... would have broken the school record for consecutive playoff appearances. Instead, now we have to come back and regroup a little bit. We have a good core coming back from a 5-5 team. So, we’re excited to see if we can get back into the playoffs and play into week 11, week 12, that kind of thing. That’s kind of been our big push this offseason,” Oliver explained.

“I’m having a lot of conversations with receivers and running backs, trying to get as much work as we can - watching film, doing other things to get ready for the season. I think we’ll be good in that aspect,” Poirrier added.

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