Ball of energy: Injured Fuselier leads Kinder from sideline

Warren Arceneaux

Like most opposing defenses the past three seasons, a season-ending injury suffered just before his senior season started hasn’t stopped Ty Fuselier.

The Kinder High running back tore an anterior cruciate ligament the week before the Yellow Jackets’ first game this season. Last year he led the team in rushing with 775 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games played.

The injury has kept Fuselier off the field, but he has maintained his role as a team leader as the Jackets have reached the Class 2A championship game.

Kinder will face Many for the state championship Sunday in Natchitoches.

“I make sure I’m at every practice,” Fuselier said. “I’m a senior and a leader for the team. I’m at practice and in everyone’s ear, making sure they are still fighting and can do it without me. I’ve played offense and defense since my freshman year so I have everything down. I try to help the guys who are playing my spot.”

Fuselier said his time on the sideline has helped him gain a better appreciation for the Kinder coaches.

“It is really all wanting to help somebody get better,” he said.

Fuselier said he has paid special attention to Tylan Ceasar and Bryce Laughlin, who have taken over primary running duties. They have combined for 1,453 yards and 25 touchdowns.

“They’re learning; this is their first year in the offense,” Fuselier said. “They have definitely grown over the season and have been awesome to watch.”

Despite a physical playing style, Fuselier said he has always enjoyed the mental side of the game.

“I have always loved watching film, picturing myself in the game and thinking about what I would be doing,” he said. “Offense was easier to me but I thought I was better on defense (as an end and rover). Whichever side of the ball, I really enjoyed hitting people.”

Fuselier spends game nights making sure his teammates are in the right frame of mind.

“It is hard to sit on the sidelines and watch helplessly,” he said. “I really miss being able to score touchdowns and helping the team. But now my main thing is getting in people’s ear when they get down or start thinking we are going to lose. I tell them we still have time left, it’s time to get out there and play.

“Sometimes people get mad and start throwing their helmet and stuff. When you’re in the game it is heated and you want to get mad, but me, I’m on the sideline and not that mad, so I can just let them know that they’ve got this.”

Fuselier admitted that he still gets caught up in the emotions of the game.

“In the second round we played Avoyelles,” he recalled. “It was third-and-17, our quarterback throws a duck up there and Avoyelles has two guys there waiting for it, but it bounces off them and our guy, Darius Captain, catches it.

“We went on to win and that was great. I had some tears in my eyes after that one.”

Fuselier said he expects to be cleared to run track in the spring and hopes to find a place to play football next fall.

“I’ve been running pretty good and I’ve been feeling good,” he said. “I hope I’ll be able to walk on (for football) somewhere.”Ty Fuselier was a force on both sides of the ball for Kinder. Since an injury sidelined the senior for the season, Fuselier has played new leading roles from the sideline as coach and cheerleader. With his support the Yellow Jackets find themselves in the Class 2A state championship game against Many Sunday in Natchitoches.

Rick Hickman / American Press

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