3 Comets soar on to play at collegiate level

Published 11:45 pm Friday, February 8, 2013



LAPLACE — At the beginning of the 2012 football season, St. Charles coach Frank Monica questioned the leadership ability of his senior class, and did so more loudly after an 0-2 start threatened to steer the Comet season toward irrelevance.

But as the season went on, the team’s senior players earned Monica’s respect helping guide the team to nine straight wins and a second consecutive district championship.

On Wednesday morning, three of those seniors commanded the spotlight as Luke Jackson, Taylor Cochran and Garrett Lubin each officially put pen to paper on National Signing Day.

Jackson (Tulane), Cochran (Southeastern) and Lubin (Mississippi College) each signed at a special ceremony on the second floor of the Comets’ fieldhouse, a place they celebrated many a victory over the past few seasons.

“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” said Cochran. “I feel like I’ve accomplished something that every kid dreams of.”

St. Charles coach Frank Monica said that this senior class impressed with its collective mental toughness, guiding the team not just through its 0-2 start, but though the hardships wrought on by Hurricane Issac.

For this crop of signees, he said the best is likely yet to come.

“I think the best football is ahead for all three of them,” said Monica. “These players have been the cornerstone of our program for, in some cases, the past five years. These are 17-year-old guys who have a lot of growth potential not just physically, but mentally as well.”

Jackson is the second Comet to sign with Tulane in two years, following in the footsteps of 2012 senior Lazedrick Thompson.

He committed last summer to the Green Wave after a breakout junior season. He said when Tulane offered, he jumped on it.

“There’s maybe a chance to start there, and it’s so close to home,” said Jackson.

He made the Wave take notice after Monica and his staff moved Jackson from inside linebacker to outside linebacker, where his play blossomed for a Comet defense that rewrote the school record books en route to a state championship.

“It just seemed easier to put my hand on the ground and get after the quarterback,” said Jackson.

Added Monica, “When we made that move, it improved our defense tremendously. He’s quick enough and strong enough to beat most offensive tackles, and he’s fast enough to run down faster quarterbacks. He made guys around him better.”

Cochran, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound nose tackle, broke out in similar fashion as a junior, an improvement he credits to shedding 70 pounds after his sophomore season.

“I knew I needed a big year, or I wouldn’t be going to the next level,” he said.

But after making his name, he suffered a torn ACL in the seventh game of his senior year, which made Cochran concerned that his scholarship wouldn’t be honored.

“Their coach called and said they still wanted me,” said Cochran. “That meant a lot.”

Lubin, a wide receiver, surged into the starting lineup this season. Monica noted he “has all the measurables,” standing at 6-foot-1-inches and possessing 4.4 speed in the 40-yard-dash.

“I liked Mississippi College because it feels like a home,” said Lubin. “At St. Charles, we’re all a big family. And (Mississippi College) is a lot like that. Everyone’s friends with each other there.”

The three leave having helped guide St. Charles to its only state championship and the first back-to-back district titles in 20 years.

“We’re excited for them. They’ve earned a chance at a free education and to be ambassadors for our school,” said Monica. “But more importantly, I just wish them to have personal success.”

Meanwhile, fellow District 7-3A competitor St. James saw it’s defensive leader sign. Middle linebacker Seth Keller was an iron man for the Wildcats and finished the season as one of the state’s tackling leaders. The 6-foot, 215-pounder signed with Nicholls State Wednesday morning.

And while Lutcher lacked a football signee, a little school history was made. Wednesday marked the school’s first-ever soccer signee as Kassidy Zeringue inked with Louisiana-Lafayette at the Lutcher fieldhouse.

“I’m proud and extremely honored,” said Zeringue, who has scored a staggering 160 goals over the past three seasons of play. “Seeing everyone here today and the support they’re showing me, it’s a feeling like no other.”

Zeringue has played year-round soccer for less than two years.

“It comes down to natural talent,” said Lutcher coach Neta Bourgeois. “She’s come a long way quickly because of it and because she’s got the drive and desire to be better. She’s got a 4.17 GPA. She wants to excel in whatever she does.

“The girls asked me if we can retire her jersey, No. 2. That just speaks to what she’s meant to her teammates.”