Iota opens season at Vinton

By Howell Dennis


IOTA – After the Jamboree loss to Abbeville last weekend, Iota head coach said that he had learned a lot about his football team after the game.

Due to the fact that their scrimmage was cancelled two weeks ago due to the weather, it was the first time LeJeune had a chance to see his team in a game situation which enabled him to make a few personnel decisions.

“Ben Thevis will be our starting quarterback this week and we will be playing John Simar strictly on offense,” said LeJeune.

Simar spent last season playing both ways and started at quarterback in the Jamboree. He ran back a kickoff for a touchdown in last week’s game and will be playing running back this season and possibly some more at quarterback provided Thevis plays well and stays healthy.

“Brett Broussard will still be playing strong safety and get some touches on offense and we still have Trey (St. Andre) and Ethan (Navarre) to carry the ball for us as well,” he said.

During last week’s scrimmage St. Andre was especially impressive with 72 yards on 16 carries, including a 35-yard highlight reel run where he broke several tackles. He also scored on a six-yard touchdown against a tough Abbeville defense.

LeJeune was asked if he chose which running back to use depending on the situation or by which one had the “hot hand.”

“Well I’d have to say both,” he responded. “With the four guys we have back there I think it presents a tough matchup for our opponents.”

“We won’t be playing many guys both ways this week,” added LeJeune. “It’s time for some of the guys who haven’t had much experience to come off the bench and show us what they can do in Vinton this week.”

LeJeune described Vinton as being “similar to us in that they are very young and have numbers like ours.”

“They run a double-slot offense and have two good receivers and a quarterback who can deliver the ball,” he added. “They are potentially very dangerous.”

Coach Wendell LeJeune’s squad only returns four starters from last year’s squad but the good news - if it can be considered good news - is that all four starters (Sammy Smith, Ben Rumery, Drew Granger, and Dylan Boudreaux) will be playing both ways, therefore taking up eight positions.

“We are going to be pretty basic early in the season,” said Wendell LeJeune.

One of the Lions biggest holes to fill will be at running back where Craig Sterling ran for 1,163 yards last season and averaged 7.9 yards per carry. He will be replaced by the tandem of Boudreaux and Justin Dupree.

Joe Prince will be stepping under center at quarterback.

“He’s got good size and a good arm,” LeJeune said of Prince.

Perhaps that will tempt the Lions to use more of an aerial attack this season where they only had 184 yards through the air.

Defensively, Vinton’s five seniors - Smith, Granger, Rumery, Boudreaux, and Peyton Simion - will be asked to provide leadership for the Lion’s underclassmen. Three juniors and a sophomore will join Boudreaux in the secondary, while sophomores Kelby Hebert and Kyle Habetz will be the starting linebackers.

Iota’s Marcus LeJeune, no relation to Wendell, sounded like he was very ready for Friday’s game.

“These are the games that count,” he said. “Towards power rankings and hopefully the playoffs. We will find out much more about our team this week.”

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