The LaGrange Gator offense will rely heavily on the play of senior running back Tyler Guillory (5-foot-10, 225 pounds) this season. The 2012 all-district selection will feature as the Gators’ primary back in 2013 after earning significant playing time in each of the past two seasons. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 6:30 PM
After a co-district championship and a quarterfinal run in the state playoffs in 2012, the LaGrange Gators will look to build on last season’s performance.
Head coach Jules Sullen, who enters his sixth year in charge at LaGrange, said the Gators will approach 2013 like they do every season.
“The first thing that we start off every season with is reminding the kids that playing well in our nondistrict games will make us a better team for the district games, and since our ultimate goal is to reach the playoffs every season we know that it is important that we perform well in those district games,” Sullen said.
For the second time in three years the Gators will see new faces on the other side of the field, as their district lost area schools DeRidder and St. Louis and gained three new schools, all to the east. Crowley, Eunice and Rayne move up from Class 3A to enter District 4-4A alongside LaGrange, Beau Chene, Opelousas and Washington Marion.
“We understand that most of this district was 3A, but we still have a lot of the same teams with Beau Chene, Opelousas and Washington-Marion, so I think our kids will fare well in the district,” Sullen said. “We know that Eunice will be one of the better teams in the district with their rich tradition and great coach, and we know Washington-Marion will be a tough team, especially with the dynamic things coach (Freddie) Harrison has been able to do with that program, but you can’t afford to overlook the up and coming teams like Opelousas.”
The offense will rely heavily on the play of senior running back Tyler Guillory (5-foot-10, 225 pounds). The 2012 all-district selection will be the featured back in after earning significant playing time in each of the past two seasons.
“Last year (Guillory) was our second back, but this year he will be featuring as our primary runner,” Sullen said. “He’s been playing varsity since he was young, and he has been running for the track team, which has helped his speed, and we are expecting him to be able to run on both the outside and between the tackles now.
“As far as his leadership ability, it is dynamic. The kids really look up to him and that comes from his years of experience.”
LaGrange will also deploy sophomores Alvinosky Lafleur (5-11, 175) and Markell Hawthorne (5-10, 180) in the backfield.
Starring at wide receiver will be 2012 all-district selection Martell Hawthorne (6-4, 185). The senior has drawn interest from several colleges and recently received an offer from Louisiana-Monroe, Sullen said.
“We are excited about what (Hawthorne) will be capable of this year,” Sullen said. “He is a tremendous deep threat who has the ability to understand his blitz control routes well.”
Joining him out wide will be senior Alphonse Ardoin (6-1, 196) and sophomore Jaylun Myles (6-0, 170).
Leading the offense will be quarterback Quindon Berry (6-3, 225).
“He is a big kid with a very strong arm and many area coaches have been impressed with his ability to throw the ball,” Sullen said of Berry.
He will be protected by an offensive line that returns one starter but provides plenty of size and strength. The line will feature senior left tackle Landon Avery (6-1, 255), senior left guard Daleon Brown (6-0, 245), junior center Wilson Lemelle (5-8, 285), junior right guard Marquise Talbert (6-5, 290) and junior right tackle Casey Vincent (5-9, 225).
On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators return a pair of all-district players in senior linebacker Charles Wilridge (6-2, 215) and junior defensive end Javon Parker (6-3, 240).
Joining Parker on the defensive line will be senior end/linebacker Jalen Smith (6-0, 195), junior tackle Kenneth Joubert (6-2, 280) and sophomore tackle Rachard Lee (5-10, 255). Smith is also a returning starter.
Senior Brian Sterling (5-11, 180) also returns, and he and Wilridge will be joined in the linebacking corps by sophomore Zavier Hall (5-10, 195).
Sullen said he has confidence in senior cornerbacks Deonte Goodley (6-0, 185) and Markel Thomas (5-10, 170).
“We have what we feel is one of the better cornerback duos around with Deonte Goodley and Markel Thomas, who is a three-year starter who has received a lot of attention from college scouts recently,” Sullen said.
Joining Goodley and Thomas in the secondary will be junior safety Traelon Anderson (6-0, 185) and sophomore safety Michael Leday (5-9, 170).