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Riverside Sets Goal Of State Title In 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 27, 1998

RESERVE – The Riverside Rebels concluded spring football practice Thursday afternoon with one goal in mind for the 1998 season – to win the state championship.

Head coach Mickey Roussel said he was pleased with the team’s effort during the spring practice which lasted for nine days. Defensively, Rousselsaid the team did what it has been doing for years. On offense, however,the players were learning a new system being put in.

The experience helped the defense control the majority of the intrasquad game Thursday afternoon. The first team offense did get a drive startedafter being stopped on its first series against the first team defense with Keith LeBlanc capping it off by scoring from a yard out.

The second team defense followed with a stop of the second team offense during a three-drive series with Blake Torres ending the second series with a fumble recovery.

The first team defense stopped the offense on its next possession after a long run by Brandon Delaneuville. The offense would come back later twoseries later to score on a 12-yard run by LeBlanc.

Fumble recoveries by Damian Melancon and Jason Hayes and a sacked by Hayes and Ranney Wilson highlighted the next couple of series. The offensegot back on the board on a 22-yard run by LeBlanc and a 28-yard dash by Rusty Richard. Second team quarterback Michael Schoen capped the scoringby finding Dusty Waguespack in the end zone after a long run by Jeff Roccaforte.

Besides giving the team experience, Roussel said the practices gave the new coaches on the staff an opportunity to get on the same page before fall practice begins. During the summer, Roussel said the team will workon getting stronger and quicker.

Going into the summer program, Roussel pointed to the fact that the team has more depth than ever before and the leadership by the seniors as team strengths.

“The seniors are starting to identify themselves as leaders,” Roussel said.

“I believe if you have strong leadership every year, you are going to be successful. If you don’t, no matter how much talent you have, you won’tbe.”Roussel said the team accomplished what he wanted during the spring, including the major goal of staying relatively injury free. As for the majorgoal for the season – a trip to the Superdome and a state championship come December.

“We have come close,” Roussel said. “We want to knock on the door but wewant to also open the door and get in. With the kids here and their workethic, we are going to give them the best chance to do that.”The Rebels open the 1998 season at White Castle and University, two teams that defeated them in 1997. Riverside then opens a three-gamehome swing against Varnado, Vandebilt and Parkview Baptist.

Riverside opens District 9-2A play at West St. John. The Rebels are thenat home for the rest of the season, hosting St. Charles Catholic,Ridgewood, L.B. Landry and St. Martin’s.

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