Yesterday morning the first high school football questionnaire was returned, which usually provides a feeling of anticipation as it feels like the season is nearing during the down time of summer, which of course was made much worse this year due to the cancellation of spring sports thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's been more than three months since an official high school sporting event was played, a full summer break already with most of another to go, even in the best-case scenario. And given recent reports of teams throughout the state having to pause workouts within two weeks of starting, it is getting harder to imagine that the best-case scenario is going to occur.
But worrying is no fun so I'm going to discard fears of further delays and be optimistic that we'll have football in the fall. We sure could use it, not just for normalcy and a cure for boredom, but because this season looks like an exciting one for Southwest Louisiana teams, particularly if you like offense.
Lake Charles College Prep's entire starting group of offensive skill players will enter the season with Division I offers. Dual-threat quarterback Dillon Simon committed to South Alabama and his four receivers are all college-bound, led by seniors Glynn Johnson (New Mexico State), Solomon Lewis (Louisiana Tech), Jaylen Joseph (Grambling State) and junior Keshlon Jackson, who has not committed despite offers from Colorado, Michigan State, Memphis and others.
Junior running back Trevonte Citizen has offers from Penn State and Virginia and will be the featured back for the first time with the graduation of Orenthal Lewis.
Jennings, after an up-and-down regular season, put together a run to the Superdoeme last season and returns its own dominant set of skill players, led by running backs Trevor Etienne and Jalen Lewis. Quarterback Lawrence "Bub" Wilridge and receiver Jacorien Palfrey, who is generating interest from colleges after just one year in football, are back as well.
Etienne (1,529 yards, 22 yards) and Lewis (1,425 yards, 15 TDs) combined for nearly 3,000 yards and the ground and Etienne also was a receiving threat with 21 catches for 546 yards and nine TDs. Palfrey made 23 catches for 607 yards and Wilridge had 20 TD passes and six interceptions in his first year as a starter.
One of the more intriguing players in the area will be Sam Houston's Luke Yuhasz, who had a huge year as a receiver last year. The junior is going back to the quarterback position, where he started as a freshman in the season opener two years ago. His athleticism was on full display last year as he ran caught 57 passes for 980 yards and 21 touchdowns, scoring another three touchdowns rushing as a situational quarterback.
Yuhasz showed a strong throwing arm as a freshman, but he may be called on to do a bit of running as the Broncos lost all-state receiver Tayven Grice from last year's team.
Leesville returns a strong set of skill players, led by senior quarterback Jacob Mount and junior running back Caleb Gallashaw. Mount threw for 2,034 yards and 24 touchdowns last year while Gallashaw ran for 904 yards and 16 touchdowns while sharing carries with older brother D'ante, who ran for 1,032 yards as a senior. Caleb, also a capable receiver, could produce 2,000 yards of offense as the featured back.
The Wampus Cats start the season with a bang, hosting Jennings in Week 1 and traveling to face Lake Charles College Prep in Week 2. Last year those two games produced 183 points.
After all the waiting and stress created by the pandemic, any game will do. If we're lucky, all of the talented players in the area will make the wait worth while with an electric season.
Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at email@example.com