Junior Lloyd Nash taking on leadership role for Comets

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LAPLACE — Lloyd Nash insists he was ready.

It was the first game of the 2015 season and Nash was just a sophomore backup quarterback checking out the cheerleaders when things took a turn.

The Comets’ starting quarterback, Patrick Ratliff, went out with an injury. Next thing he knew, Nash was buckling his chinstrap and heading into the game.

“Butterflies went through my stomach,” he said. “I was, like, ‘Wow. Was I ready?’ I was a little worried that I might fumble the ball or something like that. I had a few nerves.”

It didn’t take Nash long to acclimate, however. He was 7 of 9 for 95 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-0 win over Thibodaux.

Over the next few weeks, Nash had to become the team’s leader  — despite his youth. He did so with his athletic ability and his smarts, said Comets coach Frank Monica.

“He’s savvy,” Monica said. “He just knows the game and has an innate ability to make a play. He’s definitely a leader.”

The Comets were no offensive juggernaut in 2015, but even with a young and untested leader, they put together a 10-3 season with a trip to the semifinals.

Nash finished the season with 1,060 yards passing and nine touchdowns.

“He stepped in when he had to,” Monica said.

This year, there will be no stepping in. This year, the position is Nash’s from the start.

He insists it’s different this time.

“Oh I’m ready,” he said. “It’s like, I’m the next guy up so I have to carry the offense, I guess. There’s pressure on you, I guess, but you just have to go out there and give it your all.”

Nash will not be without challenges.

For one thing, Nash will have to play a dual role as cornerback, which, frankly, scares Monica quite a bit.

“We’ve never done it,” he said. “It worries me an awful lot but it’s something we have to do because we have to get our best athletes on the field.”

It’s a problem borne out of necessity.

The 2016 Comets are about as young as they can be after losing 20 of 22 starters to graduation.

“I’m headed over to daycare now to pick up my team,” Monica joked.

The youth and inexperience are presenting Monica some of the biggest challenges of his 47-year career. He’s back to teaching basic terminology.

“I hope we can find a way to move the ball, but that’s going to be our biggest challenge,” Monica said.

Nash feels it too.

“We’re young, but we are the next up so we’re going to give it our all,” he said. “Some of the young guys, I’m just trying to help those guys out a little bit. My biggest challenge is getting used to the new receivers.”

His targets will be seniors Jayce Tamplain and Rhett LeBlanc and junior Darrin Blystad, who Monica calls “Olive Oyl.”

“He has no idea who Olive Oyl is,” Monica said. “It’s because he’s so skinny.”

Nash will get a little help in the leadership role from Nick Rollo. The lone senior on the offensive line, Rollo is the last of four brothers who have come through the St. Charles Catholic system — Vincent the quarterback, David the cornerback and Michael the lineman, who now is a Comets coach.

“It was a little weird at first but now I’m used to it,” he said. “It’s my line so I’m going to have to be the leader of them. It’s always going to be challenging having a young team, but if we work hard, I think we can be really good. I think Lloyd is going to be better. He’s got a good arm, he’s getting faster and he’s reading better.”