Prep Football Preview: Basile, Oberlin favorites to take District 4-1A title

By By Troy LaFleur / American Press

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories previewing the upcoming high school football season. Today we take a look at District 4-1A. Sunday we will cover Southwest Louisiana's Class 2A teams. To view the schedules for all Lake Area teams, click here.

As District 4-1A welcomes two new additions, the Basile Bearcats are on a mission to build on their success from 2012.

For years, Southwest Louisiana’s 1A

district consisted of the same six football teams, but now Basile,

Elton, Hamilton Christian,

Merryville, Oberlin and South Cameron welcome East Beauregard and

Grand Lake into the mix.

Basile is coming off an 11-2 campaign

that saw the Bearcats reach the state quarterfinals, where they lost to

annual contender

Kentwood. However, it wasn’t an easy task for them to get there,

as they were defeated by Oberlin for the district title late

in the regular season.

Bearcats head coach Tony Bertrand knows that he and his squad will face a challenge again this year if they hope to capture

the district title from Oberlin.

“I am very optimistic about this year’s

football team. I think we have the potential to be very competitive,”

Bertrand said.

“I feel that we have a good nucleus of returning players and

should compete for the district championship with a little luck

and an injury-free year.”

Leading the way for the Bearcats will

be Kendrick Ceasar, who was an all-state selection in 2012 and stars as

the team’s running

back, return specialist and defensive back. The junior

jack-of-all-trades rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns

last season, and Bertrand said he expects him to build on those

numbers.

Oberlin

Returning to defend their district title will be the Oberlin Tigers, who have dominated the district in recent years.

Dating to a state semifinal appearance in 2010, the Tigers have paved their way on a yearly basis thanks to a strong ground

game, hard-nosed defense and dominance in the trenches.

They will try to keep their winning

tradition going behind running back Austin Darbonne, linebacker Lance

Frank and receiver/defensive

end Jonus Godeau.

Elton

If Basile or Oberlin have any hopes of claiming the district title, however, they will have to travel the road through Elton.

The Indians have provided stiff competition in recent years.

Elton will look to senior wide receiver

Scott Ross to lead the offensive attack, and junior defensive back

Marcus LeMoine

to captain the defense. Ross was an all-district selection at both

receiver and punter in 2012 and will also start as a defensive

back.

Hamilton Christian

It has been six years since Jace Peterson last led the Warriors to a playoff victory, but head coach Timothy Sensley said

he’s looking to turn the program around.

With the split between select and non-select schools, the Warriors are hoping to make a deep run in the postseason.

Following a 3-7 campaign in 2012, Hamilton will be looking to senior lineman Lawrence Carter, an all-district selection in

2012, to lead the way as it hopes to break its way into the district’s upper echelon.

The Warriors open the season at Lake Arthur.

East Beauregard

The Trojans, who enter District 4-1A after a long stint in Class 2A, will look to make a statement in their first season back

in Class 1A.

They are no stranger to the competition they will face in their new home, though, as they have played the likes of South Cameron

and Merryville on a yearly basis.

The Trojans, who were winless last season, open their season at LaSalle.

Grand Lake

The Hornets with play a varsity schedule for the first since the early 1960s.

Head coach Derrick Fendley will be depending on junior quarterback Luke Miller to help the Hornets make some noise.

The Hornets will be on the road for their first contest of the season when they visit Ascension Episcopal, a private school

in Lafayette, before making their home debut against Gueydan on Sept. 13.

Merryville

The Panthers will look to build on their 3-7 campaign from 2012 in hopes of reaching the playoffs, a feat the team has achieved

once in the past 11 seasons.

Without longtime starter at linebacker Nick Ardoin, the Panthers will be looking for someone to step up and make an impact

on defense.

South Cameron

The Tarpons will be looking to get back to their winning ways of old following a 1-9 finish in 2012.

Head coach Mark Delaney and his squad will implement a power running game and stiff defense to work their way back to the

playoffs.