Gents hope to be contenders despite low numbers
The Crowley Gents have some big shoes to fill heading into the 2019 prep football season.
Gone for last year’s team are two of their biggest playmakers on offense in wideouts Rapheus Joseph and Demarcus Dioron, who combined for nearly 1,000 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in 2018.
In addition, the Gents lose a plethora of other standouts in Jai’Rece Lewis, Markel Domino, Havonda Smith, Ray Thomas and Alex Simon, just to name a few.
On top of that, Crowley’s numbers have dwindled down to just 46 on the official roster which could make matters even worse.
While he admits the low numbers could be a problem, Crowley High coach Jeptha Wall is still very optimistic about the upcoming season.
“With the low numbers, we have a lot of guys that are going to have to contribute both ways,” said Wall, who returns four offensive starters and six on defense. “But I think we will see some good things out of some of the new kids this year.
“ Most of these guys saw some quality playing time last year and they have been in the program so they know what’s going on.
“We feel like we’re going to get some new faces in there that people may have not seen too much and they will be able to contribute immediately. They’re ready to go, they just don’t have the varsity game experience yet.”
Adding to Wall’s concerns is the fact that leading rusher Obadiah Butler will miss the early part of the season due to an ankle injury suffered late in the summer.
“Obviously, we hoped that Obadiah would be with us, but he’s out there and he knows what’s going on,” said Wall of his tailback, who rushed for 1,000 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns in 2018. “We have a lot of confidence that he’s going to come back pretty strong. It’s just a matter of when we are going to get him back.”
Butler is expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season, but he should be back in the mix well before district play begins.
And that is the time the Gents will really need him as they enter a new league (6-3A) beginning Oct. 17 with a road trip to Abbeville. The Gents will then host 2018 state semifinalist Kaplan on Oct. 25 and travel to Erath on Nov. 1.
A home game against St. Martinville, which drops down in class after a quarterfinal run in Class 4A last season, rounds out the district and regular season slate on Nov. 8.
“We will be in a new district with a semifinalist in Kaplan and a 4A quarterfinalist in St. Martinville,” said Wall. “That will be a tough test for us and will be a fun new challenge. But if we stay healthy, I think it’s one we will be ready for.”