Gridiron Classic a homecoming for local players

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 14, 1998

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / September 14, 1998

NEW ORLEANS – Saturday’s Gormley Gridiron Classic will be a homecoming of sorts for a number of River Parishes players on both the Nicholls State and Mississippi Valley State squads.

Nicholls State features a number of players from the River Parishes area.

Lutcher graduate Brad Zeller has started at quarterback for the Colonels since the end of his freshman season. Kenric Johnson, another Lutchergraduate is a running back and Chad Carter a fullback.

The Colonels are coached by former Hahnville head coach Darren Barbier and a number of players from his former team have followed him to Thibodaux. Quinn Guidry was one of the top punters in Division I-AA lastseason. Monte Arabie is an offensive lineman and Kendall Joseph a runningback.

Former Destrehan head coach Tim Rebowe is the defensive backs and special teams coach. Former Wildcats joining him are wide receiver AllenMorton and defensive back Aaron Smith. West St. John alumnus Ira Jacksonis one of the Colonels’ top receivers. Other River Parishes grads on theColonels’ roster are Terrance Landry from St. James and defensive linemanDaniel Villa from St. Charles Catholic.Mississippi Valley State has two locals on its roster, offensive tackle Brandon Dumas and offensive lineman Dramar Saul, both from West St.


Saul graduated from West St. John in 1995 after being selected to the all-district and all-River Parishes teams during his career. Saul, a junior,said he was a role player for the Delta Devils, seeing action at both guard and center.

“It’s going to be great,” Saul said of getting to play in New Orleans. “Myfamily gets to see me play, some for the first time.

“Looking in the stands, it is going to remind me of high school with my family cheering for me. It will make me work harder on and off the field.”Saul is looking forward to play the Colonels. Ira Jackson is his cousin andformer teammate at West St. John. Another cousin, Anthony, played for theColonels last season.

“It is always good to come home again, especially against Nicholls State,” Saul said. “It is more family-oriented. I have had a lot of family andfriends graduate from Nicholls State.”Saul said he is glad to have had the opportunity to play at Mississippi Valley State.

“I wanted to experience a new life, meet new friends,” Saul said. “It hasbeen a great experience.”Dumas also graduated from West St. John in 1995. He is also the cousin ofAnthony Saul and a friend of Jackson’s. He said that the contest Saturdayis for bragging rights and that they are always saying that their respective teams would win if they ever met.

“We will see who the better team is,” Dumas said. “We were alwaysclowning about the game. Now it is going to happen.”Dumas, a junior, starts at guard for the Delta Devils. And while he said itis nice to play in front of people you know, there is also a little pressure.

“It is going to great playing in front of family members and friends but everybody is going to be to be looking at you,” Dumas said.

Both Nicholls State and Mississippi Valley State are coming off losses in their season openers. The Colonels fell to Northeast Louisiana, 44-10,while the Delta Devils lost to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 38-21. Despite theloss, Saul feels the Delta Devils can have a successful season.

“We are a better team this year,” Saul said.

“We have a lot of senior leadership. We have a positive attitude and areset at quarterback, defensive line and offensive line. If everybody stayshealthy, we should have a great season.”Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tad GormleyStadium.

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