LSN STAFF PHOTO
Church Point head coach John Craig Arceneaux, center, is joined by running backs Gavin Richard (7) and Rodney Dupuis (9) at the Bears’ media day earlier in the week.
Arceneaux’s Bears hungry for District 5-3A title
When you face all four teams that advanced to the Class 3-A state semifinals, you know you had a tough schedule.
That’s exactly what Church Point did last season as the Bears beat Kaplan (30-24 and Eunice (22-20) but lost to Iota (15-12) for the district title and Sterlington (57-56) in the second round of the playoffs.
With Class 3-A state champion Eunice moving up to 4-A, the Bears could be one of the favorites to battle for the district title this season.
“The guys proved they compete against the best teams in 3-A,” Church Point head coach John Arceneaux said. “We need to find a way to get over that hump and win some of those close ones.”
Arceneaux is entering his 13th season as the Bears head coach and said the summer workouts should be beneficial.
“This is one of the better summers we’ve had,” the coach said. “Our older kids have dedicated themselves and did well in the weight room and with the 7-on-7 drills.
“They have given themselves a chance.”
“This is one of the larger senior groups we have had,” Arceneaux said. “These guys lead by example and they do the things they need to do.”
Senior running back Rodney Dupuis enters the season with 4,377 rushing yards and is only 725 shy of the Bears’ all-time record, set by Tony Citizen in the mid-1980s.
Junior Gavin Richard, who rushed for 961 yards and six touchdowns in 2018, is versatile enough to play all three positions in Bears’ Wing-T system.
“Rodney and Gavin have both started for the last three years, they both really understand the offense and are two of the best running backs in the area.”
Arceneaux said the passing attack will also be an important part of the Bears’ offense.
“When you run the ball as effectively as we do, there will always be opportunities for the play action because people are so committed in stopping the run.”
Arceneaux said he is excited to see how well his defense performs this season.
“We like what we have coming back, led by (nose guard) Tony Gibson and (linebacker) Christopher Dailey,” the coach said. “We have a good nucleus coming back but the big thing for us is to avoid injuries.”
The Bears scrimmage Crowley before facing Abbeville in the Acadia-Vermiliom Parish jamboree.
Church Point opens the regular season at home against Class 2-A powerhouse Notre Dame before visting Class 4-A Southside.
The Bears also face Kaplan, Opelousas High and St. Louis to close out the non-district schedule.
“We may be playing one of the toughest non-district schedules in the area,” the coach said. “We will definitely be battle tested by the time we get to district.”
The district has changed with Eunice moving to Class 4-A and Crowley switching to District 6-3A.
Ville Platte enters the district from Class 2-A.
“We have gone from an eight team district to a six team district,” the coach said. “It will be a very competitive district.”
Arceneaux said he is excited about the season.
“We feel if the kids continue to work hard and perform well they will give themselves a chance to win every week,” Arceneaux said.