East St. John has plenty of returning starters

Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2022

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RESERVE — East St. John had a tough year off of the field last season, but this season, the Wildcats return many of their starters from last season.

East St. John comes off of a 3-4 year.

“I’m really, really excited about my team this year,” East St. John coach Brandon Brown said. “There’s a renewed energy. Nobody wants to be the team that didn’t make the playoffs and is not very successful. This past year, that’s what happened. Our kids are hungry. Last year was tough, not just for our young men as football players, but as people. The bulk of our young men were out of their homes for the bulk of our season. It was a tough year. Even though the record was 3-4, I was extremely impressed our kids fought through, not just football, but life in general.”

Brown enters his fifth season as East St. John’s head coach.

Brown said they have a good young group of players last year that had to step up a little earlier than they should have.

He said that now they have the bulk of their team back this year.

Brown said that running back Cortez Fisher has been a staple for the last three years.

“We are going to rely on him a lot for his leadership and his work ethic,” Brown said. “I think he has the ability to be one of the top players, not only in our area, but in the state of Louisiana.”

Brown said the team is blessed to have two good running backs with George Martin being the other running back.

“He’s done a phenomenal job,” Brown said. “(Martin) and Cortez will be seniors. He didn’t play his sophomore year because his parents didn’t think it was safe with COVID. He played last year and now he’s back. It’s always good to have two good backs. It opens up our offense a lot like putting Cortez in the backfield and in the slot.”

Yashua Mitchell returns at quarterback.

“We had high hopes on him, but the storm messed things up,” Brown said. “Midseason, we turned the team over to him. He was injured in week nine, but he’s back. He’s taken the position of quarterback the way it should be. The leader of the offense and the leader of the team. It’s good to have a backfield with two good running backs and a good quarterback.”

Devin Davis is the tight end/h-back. Davis is 6-foot-5, 245 pounds,

Brown said that Davis has had a great spring.

“He’s been real impressive. He has had a great summer for us. He’s another guy we look to provide a lot of leadership on our team,” Brown said.

D’Khi Joseph comes back at receiver.

“D’Khi is the guy that can blow the top off the defense,” Brown said. “He’s a sprinter. He’s so explosive and runs really good routes. He’s a junior, so we have him back for another year after this. He was our No. 2 guy behind Collin Harris. When Yashua got hurt and we had to move Collin to quarterback, he became our No. 1 guy for week 10 and ended up having over 200 yards receiving and 4 TDs. He really blew up this spring and now a lot of coaches are asking me about him.”

The offensive line returns almost of its starters from 2021 and Brown said the line has depth.

“A team is nothing without the guys up front,” Brown said.

Center Gaylon Fobb is the only senior on the line.

He is flanked by guards Gary O’Neal and Kyvan Fob with Develle Crouch and Denario Scott the tackles.

Scott did not start last year.

“He’ll step in that role, but he’ll do a good job,” Brown said.

Brown said that Kyvan Fob has also been working on the defensive side of the ball.

Switching to defense, Brown said the unit will be very fast and physical.

Brown said it starts with the line.

East St. John lost Jamarian Zeno to Hurricane Ida last year, but Brown said that Zeno is back this year. Brown said that Zeno played in Texas last season.

“He provides a lot of leadership up front,” Brown said.

Elijah Frank returns at defensive end.

“Those are the two guys up front that get after it,” Brown said. “Elijah has been around the program for three years and he does everything we ask of him. He punts for us and he’ll stand up as a defensive end and he’ll play some linebacker.”

Defensive lineman Javon Dent is a returning starter.

Brown said the linebacking group is young.

Senior Freddy Jones is the middle linebacker.

“Very cerebral and smart kid,” Brown said. “He’s like a coach on the field. He’s a senior now, so he knows the expectations. You feel like you can’t make a bad call because he understands the defense and he understands the adjustments we have to make.”

D’Karai Joseph will play corner.

“He’s that guy we can count on,” Brown said. “He’s tremendously athletic. He’s probably our best cover guy. We’re going to put him on the best receiver. If there’s a receiver that’s a big threat, he’s going to guard them.”

Dwayne Brown will play safety, cornerback and outside linebacker.

“Probably pound-for-pound the toughest kid on the team,” Brown said. “He’s only going to be a junior, but he’s a leader. He just does everything right from the weight room to the field.”

Cornerback/safety Hansen Johnson will probably start at safety.

East St. John will begin the season on September 2 with a home game against St. James.