Crowley Rotarians hear from local coaches

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By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – If there ever was a complete opposite from last week’s Rotary Club meeting program, this week’s football previews were definitely it.

The Crowley club’s meeting got the opportunity to hear previews of the upcoming season from both Crowley high schools’ coaches, Lewis Cook and Tommy Tate.

Rotarian Gerald Dill served as program organizer and as he was introducing the duo, expressed complimentary remarks about both.

“We are very fortunate, Crowley is very fortunate to have two highly regarded coaches,” he said. “Not only are they excellent coaches, but they are good men.”

Each coach was given about 15 minutes to discuss the upcoming season and where the school’s programs stand.

Tate was first and began by previewing the Crowley High Gents’ team.

“We haven’t had as much success as I would have liked to have had at Crowley High,” he said. “We have had some good football teams. The last three years we have been in the playoffs, advancing past the first round, but haven’t been able to get past the second. That has been a big goal of ours.”

Tate says Crowley has a lot of “young energy” on the team and has five starters returning on each side of the ball.

Offensively, the Gents will have a new starting quarterback Andre Mills, who started at wide receiver last season. They return two offensive linemen, Caleb Cormier, who will convert from wide receiver to tight end and Davante Bourque.

“Davante is a very talented young man,” said Tate. “All I can say is we are going to try and get him the football as much as we can.”

Defensively, there will be no returns along the defensive line. They will return two inside linebackers that will provide them speed at the position and two corner backs, among them.

Tate added that he expects the defensive side to see the most improvement pointing to the Gents’ defensive woes last season.

“We didn’t have much trouble moving the football, but we did have problems slowing people down,” he said. “That’s the thing that really caught up with us in the second round of the playoffs last year.”

When discussing his offseason approach, Tate pointed out that despite following a strict schedule, moments of anxiety still arise.

“You never go into this part of the year without a few anxious moments,” he said. “But its a really exciting time for any coach. I can’t wait until next Monday, and we can’t wait (for football) either.”

The microphone was then turned over to Cook, who started off by thanking Dill and discussing the Notre Dame Pioneers’ coaching staff, which has included Dill for 14 years.

After discussing the coaches, Cook then turned to the players that will make up the 2011 squad and his preview of the Pios’ season.

The Pios graduated 24 seniors last year, but the new kids are ready to make a name for themselves.

“The summer flew by, as it always does,” said Cook. “It’s amazing to watch how hard they have worked and they continue to show up.”

The school has had a lot of success under Cook, which has only heightened expectations.

“Each year people ask ‘How are y’all going to do this year?’,” he said. “And I always say the same thing, ‘I think we’ll have a chance,’ because you never know what’s going to happen until the season gets underway.”

Notre Dame will wrap up offseason workouts Wednesday morning.

The coaches when discussing their schedules, both of which will prove challenging, hit on the Week 9 match-up of the two teams thanks to district realignments in high school athletics. The two are now in a district with Jennings, Iowa, Westlake and South Beauregard. Crowley and Notre Dame will meet for the first time in several years.

While both coaches know that the fans are looking forward to the game, they realize that it is just a game.

“The things that I have found over the years is that these (conversations) need to be had with some of the adults,” said Cook. “These kids play ball all summer with each other; when the game’s over they’re hugging and taking pictures with each other; and so on.”

Tate agreed, pointing to how offseason scrimmages and other activities show how the two teams respect each other and how he hopes the game will be fun for everyone.

“I think its good for the city and we will hopefully have some fun with it,” said Tate.

August camp for both schools will begin Monday.