Building upon last year’s success, ESJ is ready to reach the finals

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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LAPLACE — For the past five years, East St. John has built its football program brick by brick under the direction of head coach Brandon Brown. The Wildcats had a breakthrough in the 2022 season, which started with an 8-0 record and ended with a hard fought 21-20 loss to Destrehan in the semifinals.

With 23 seniors on this year’s roster and 14 starters returning, this could be the year the Wildcats finish building the bridge to the championship title.

“We want the St. John community to get behind these young men. We came up a little short against Destrehan (last year). It left a sour taste in our mouth, but I think it also motivated our kids to work a little harder to get to that next step,” Brown said. “Brick by brick, that’s part of our program. We are trying to do it the right way. Our kids are continuing to buy in. We are excited, and we are ready to make a championship run.”

Offensively, Brown is looking to seniors D’Kai Joseph and Koyal Gray to provide leadership, along with quarterbacks Kairan Smith and Lorenzo Zeno.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats will rely on players like Dwayne Brown, KyVan Fobb and Jamarion Zeno.

“Those guys have done an excellent jobs day in and day out for the last three years, so now, going into year four, we’ve been close,” Brown said. “We have made great strides, and we are just pushing to take it to the next level now.”

Brown emphasized that each member of the team has a role, understands the expectations, and has done an excellent job of steering the program in a positive direction.

Football season began with a scrimmage against Edna Karr and continues this week with a jamboree against Warren Easton, another championship caliber program.

The regular season kicks off with a River Parish rivalry game September 1 at St. James. Up next are games against G.W. Carver, LB Landry, Thibodaux, Hahnville, H.L. Bourgeois, Central Lafourche, Terrebonne, Destrehan, and Holy Cross.

“They are going to be ready to go. We understand that. We are going to find out what we are made of as a team with the great quality opponents we have. We don’t have any slouches on our schedule. Every week you have to bring your best game, and if not, you stand a chance to get embarrassed,” Brown said.