The 2019 Patterson High School Lumberjack football team
(Submitted Photo/Wade Gussman Photography)
Lumberjacks looking to bounce back after tough season
The 2018 football season ended in rare fashion for the Patterson Lumberjacks as the playoff regular missed the postseason and dropped its final nine games of the season after a 1-0 start.
Longtime high school football coach Don Jones, who returns for his second season leading the Lumberjacks, said earlier this month he takes responsibility for last year’s performance.
“Nobody was more embarrassed about last year than me, especially all the years of coaching, that’s only happened to me a couple times, and so it was very awakening for me,” Jones said.
Since that loss, Jones said the Lumberjacks have been working hard in the weight room to improve their strength.
“I think that we’ve definitely accomplished that,” Jones said. “We’ve made leaps and bounds with getting them physically stronger. We’ve had a great summer program. Ninety-eight to 99 percent of them made all their workouts, so we’re very satisfied with that.”
Jones also noted that for the first time in a few years, the team will be playing under the same coach as the prior year.
“I think that’s important for any type of program,” he said.
The Lumberjacks’ coaching staff this year consists of Jones, who will serve as the offensive coordinator and coach the running backs and quarterbacks; Cody Wilson, who will coach the offensive line; Brett Dore’ and Edwin Colbert, who both will coach the wide receivers along with helping to coach the running backs and quarterbacks; Wil Broussard is the defensive coordinator and will coach the linebackers; Mark Johnson and Trone Triggs will coach the defensive line; and Trey Marshall and Kendall Robinson will coach the secondary.
Jones said he has a “pretty solid group” coaching on offense and defense.
All coaches will help with special teams.
Patterson enters this season having to replace all-everything Dajon Richard, a Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A All-State honorable mention selection a year ago who earned first-team All-District 8-3A honors at running back and second-team honors at return specialist and punter. The University of South Alabama signee also split time at quarterback.
This year’s Patterson offense returns six starters, while the defense brings back approximately eight starters from 2018.
The Lumberjacks offense and defense this year both will be multiple.
Jones said Patterson is putting “a lot of emphasis” on defense, and he said he thinks it can be a strong point for Patterson this year.
“If you can stop people, get the ball back, you’re going to have more opportunities to score,” Jones said.
Another positive for this year is what Jones says is a solid incoming freshman class that all practiced this spring.
“I think there’s about 15 of them, and it’s one of the best looking groups that we’ve had in a long time,” Jones said. “Not a whole lot of skill people in that group, but a lot of defensive end, linemen-type young men, which we’re very fortunate because that fits our needs.”
Jones said some of these freshmen will see the field this year.
Below is a position-by-position look at the 2019 Patterson Lum-berjacks.
The Lumberjacks will be led at quarterback this year by junior Louis Jones, who is pegged as the starter. He, along with freshman Caylon Davis and sophomore Tylon Walton, all can run and throw the ball, Jones said.
“I think that we have the potential for them to put some pressure on the defense, because anytime you have a quarterback that can run, that gives the defense a lot of fits because they got to key on the running backs, they got to key on the quarterback, and if you can get that quarterback on the corner where he can run or throw, you (could) really put them in a situation to have to do a lot of things to stop that,” Jones said.
While Patterson must replace Richard, a first-team All-District 8-3A running back a year ago, Jones said the team has experience at running back with returning starter, senior Allen Langston.
The team also will play sophomore Kyler Paul at running back along with senior Treylon Bennett.
Jones said he thinks Paul “is going to be in the same mold as Dajon (Richard).”
Junior Kylon Griffin also could play in the backfield.
The Patterson wide receiving group returns senior starter Kai Schexnayder, who Jones said he thought was of the top wide receivers in the Lumberjacks’ district last year. Jones said he will be one of the top wide receivers in Patterson’s new league this year, too.
Jones called Schexnayder a “tremendous receiver.”
Schexnayder was a second-team All-District 8-3A wide receiver a year ago.
Freshman Josiah Jennings along with Randan Paul and Walton are working at another receiver spot, and senior Elijah Williams or Dylan Fabre will fill a third receiver role.
Griffin also is a receiving option.
Gone from last year’s receiving lineup is tight end Irvin Celestine, a second-team All-District 8-3A tight end.
Patterson has four returning starters on this year’s offensive line, senior James Gash at tackle, seniors Javin Turner and Gage Stelly at the guard positions and senior Jarvis Jackson at center.
Turner, who has received several college offers this year, was a second-team All-District 8-3A offensive lineman a year ago.
Jones said he had a good feeling about this year’s offense because the Lumberjacks have a good group of linemen returning.
Patterson also has several starters back on the defensive line this year. Returning are sophomore defensive end Christian Johnson and junior defensive end Nasere Washington and senior defensive tackles James Gash and Javin Turner.
Gash was a second-team All-District 8-3A defensive lineman a year ago.
Bennett will lead the Patterson line backing group this season. He is a returning starter along with Seth Arnold.
Jones said Bennett, a three-time all-district selection who earned second-team honors a year ago, could become an all-state linebacker this year.
Newcomers at linebacker for the Lumberjacks are sophomore Lonnie Kinchen and junior Kadin Dinger.
The Lumberjacks return starters Williams and Paul to the defensive backfield this year.
Jones called Williams the team’s “quarterback” of the secondary.
Griffin is a newcomer in the Patterson secondary.
Gone from last year’s secondary is James Butler, who was a second-team All-District 8-3A defensive back in 2018.
Jose Rivera will return as the team’s kicker from a year ago and also will handle punting duties for Patterson this season, replacing Richard, a second-team All-District 8-3A punter a year ago.
“I don’t think he missed any extra points” last season, Jones said of Rivera.
Jones said he likes the team’s kicking game this year. He called the kicking game “one of the most critical aspects of high school football.”
Jones said, “It can change a game in just one kick, one way or the other, and so we’ve put a lot of emphasis on the kicking game.”
In Patterson’s return game, the Lumberjacks must replace Richard, a second-team All-District 8-3A selection at return specialist. Patterson is working Paul, Williams, Fabre, Schexnayder and Griffin in this year’s return game.
Patterson’s 2019 schedule features nondistrict contests against West St. Mary, Class 4A Assumption, Class 5A Lafayette, Class 4A South Terrebonne and Class 4A Morgan City to start the season.
The Lumberjacks will play in a new league this year, District 9-3A, which Jones said he thought is “probably the toughest district in 3A football.”
In addition to longtime league foe Berwick, Patterson will welcome back E.D. White, who along with Lutcher moved down from Class 4A this season and will compete in District 9-3A. Also, former district foe Donaldsonville returns to Patterson’s district, and St. James will join the league.
“I think from top to bottom we got one heck of a schedule,” Jones said.
However, he said the Lumberjacks are excited about the competition.
Patterson will compete in the Taco Bell-Morgan City High School Football Jamboree Friday at approximately 7:45 against Morgan City.
Patterson opens its regular season Sept. 6 at home against West St. Mary.