Wainwright puts Grand Lake on fast track to success

Warren Arceneaux

“Can you win here at Grand Lake?,” was the question Jeff Wainwright asked last year when interviewing for the head coaching job.

After being assured by athletic director Scott Miano that the work ethic of the kids at the school made winning possible, his question was quickly answered. The Hornets had a winning season and won a playoff game last season. Friday night they will play in a Class 1A semifinal game at East Iberville.

The Hornets (7-1) lost 28-20, in overtime, to East Iberville (8-1) in the regional round of last year’s playoffs.

Now Grand Lake has a chance to both extract some revenge and earn a spot in the program’s first state championship game. East Iberville is also in the semifinals for the first time.

Wainwright said his players made the transition to a new coach easy.

“From day one, Coach Miano said he believed in the kids,” Wainwright said. “Sometimes you get lucky on the vision (for the program) and having good players and the players buying in when a new coach comes in. I have been lucky with that from the coaching staff and players. We’re thankful for the opportunity.”

The Hornets have held each of its last three opponents to six points while averaging 39 points themselves.

Wainwright said his kids do a good job of preparation during the week, allowing them to shine on Friday nights.

“The kids have all understood their roles and what the other team’s offense is trying to achieve,” he said. “We’ve been making tackles and making it hard for opponents to get the leverage they need to make their plays work. Our linebackers have been playing well and making tackles from sideline-to-sideline. Offensively, we have been able to get the running game going with all of the running backs. We converted Fountain to running back and he has done well. Levi Murrell has been steady for us the whole year. Nathaniel Murrell and Branson Aguillard also get carries. We rotate four backs and they are all tough kids. Any one of four can be gamebreakers and each of them have carried us at one time this season.”

East Iberville has a new head coach in Justin Joseph, but looks similar to last year’s team.

“The new coach kept everything intact, it is a lot of the same players we played against last year,” Wainwright said. “They re running the same offense and defense. They have a lot of good players and know their schemes well. They are fast and run a lot of buck sweeps, using their speed to get to the edges. They stretch your defense out and put you in a lot of one-on-one situations where you have to make tackles. We are going to have to make tackles.”

East Iberville also enters on a three-game winning streak, averaging 35 points per game in those games. The Tigers beat traditional power Haynesville 25-15 last week.Oberlin’s Jordyn Artis and Jennings Levi Murrell go up for a pass during the first half of their game at Jennings stadium in Jennings, La., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.

Rick Hickman / American Press

Local News

From Moss Bluff to Diitabiki and back again

Crime

O’Brien sentenced to life for rape of child

Crime

Five accused of attempted ATM burglaries

Local News

I-10 bridge task force chair: Wednesday crash highlights need for new bridge

Local News

National Seat Check Saturday at Southwest Beverage

Crime

State Police investigating officer-involved fatal shooting of inmate

Crime

LC man arrested after shooting at neighbor’s home

State News

Coroner identifies man killed by alligator

Crime

Sulphur High student arrested after threat made

Crime

Sheriff: Escapee shot after firing at officers

Local News

Governor optimistic about federal hurricane aid for SW La.

Local News

Eastbound lane of I-10 bridge remains closed after fiery crash

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting