After falling just short of the playoffs in 2012, the Sulphur Golden Tornadoes are ready to once again uphold their rich football tradition. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, August 26, 2013 6:25 PM
SULPHUR — After just missing the playoffs in 2012, the Sulphur Golden Tornadoes are ready to once again uphold their rich football tradition.
Armed with a new head coach, bringing in a new offensive and defensive schemes, the Tors will look to return to the form that saw them fall just three points shy of winning state championship in 2006.
Following a successful 10-year stint as the head coach at Kinder, Jeff Wainwright takes the reigns for the Tors.
“I am the type of coach that focuses on taking it one game at a time, and the ultimate goal is to get into playoffs and make a run from there,” Wainwright said. “Right now our expectations are to get out there and play hard and fast on that first Friday night in September, and start evaluating so we can move forward.”
The coaching staff won’t be an entirely new, however, as former head coach Harold Fusilier returns to take the reigns as the defensive coordinator. Fusilier amassed a record of 14-18 at the helm in Sulphur, guiding his squad to two playoff appearances.
Wainwright is aware of the high level of competition that comes with being a part of District 3-5A and is preparing his squad to compete with some of the state’s best teams.
“When you look at our district you see a lot of the Louisiana powerhouses and they all bring different challenges to the table,” Wainwright said. “To prepare for that we are out there on the practice field not taking a single minute off. We are out there running the right drills and putting the pressure on in order to make every rep count.”
Under Wainwright, Sulphur will transition from a spread offense to a flex-bone triple-option attack.
Luckily for Wainwright the transition to a more run-oriented attack will be aided by all five starters returning along the offensive line. Those returning starters include left tackle Jacob Hogg (6-foot-0, 260 pounds), left guard Logan Desselle (6-2, 285), center Sean Henson (5-8, 264), right guard Kendrick Edwards (5-10, 323) and right tackle Austin Thorne (5-7, 225). Edwards was an all-district selection last season.
“This group is very close and I think if we have a chance to be a good team this year, they are going to have to bear a lot of the weight,” Wainwright said. “They have had a really good preseason so far, and we haven’t had the chance to see them in action yet, but all signs are pointing to them being the centerpiece of our football team.”
The only other returning starter on offense for Sulphur will be quarterback Seth Bohannon (5-10, 170), who split time with Kale Breaux last season.
“On and off the field (Bohannon) is a top-notch kid,” Wainwright said. “He is out there everyday pulling his load and picking up the new offense really well. Our kids know that they can count on him to put us in the right situation and eliminate any mistakes when running our offense.”
Bohannon’s starting wideout options this season will be seniors Keifer Ackley (5-10, 135) and Damien Batiste (6-2, 178). Joining him in the backfield will be a rotation of senior Josh Frey (5-9, 160), sophomore Toby Duhon (5-8, 160) and juniors Michael Lyons (5-9, 180) and Andrew Stetz (5-9, 175).
The Tors return just two starters on the defensive side of the ball, where they transition from a 4-2-5 scheme to a 3-3-5.
Senior defensive end Matthew Perez (6-0, 214) returns to anchor a defensive line that will also feature junior end Chris Bertrand (5-11, 225) and senior nose guard Ora Broussard (5-6, 219).
Senior Leonard Bailon (6-0, 190) will captain an athletic linebacking corp that also features senior Cody Cross (6-0, 185) and junior Cody Burel (6-0, 180). Senior Kyle Fontenot (5-8, 190) will also receive playing time.
“When you watch us play, this biggest thing you will notice is that our defense has a lot of speed,” Wainwright said. “Our linebackers are very quick and we are expecting them to make a lot of plays for us this season.”
Senior Joel Peterson (5-9, 165) returns to start at free safety, where he will captain a secondary that features senior strong safeties Timmy Ellender (5-7, 147) and Blake Drost (5-9, 135). Starting alongside them at the two cornerback positions will be senior Latin Berry (5-7, 152) and junior Derrick Guillory (5-6, 137).
“Joel Peterson has done a very good job in the preseason so far,” Wainwright said. “He is a physical guy that we are excited about playing both safety positions.”