Riverside Academy football is growing with Coach Roussel

Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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RESERVE — Riverside Academy’s football program had a seamless transition as Lee Roussel stepped in as head coach for the 2022 season, leading the Rebels to a 9-2 record and a playoff appearance.

Entering his second year, Roussel is assured that the Rebels understand the expectations of the program and are capable of reaching the state championship, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2016. While this year’s team will be young in some aspects, there is an equal amount of experience with a majority of the offensive line and nearly a dozen defensive starters returning to the field.

“The offensive line is where we’ve got some experience,” Roussel said. “As far as the offensive skill, receiver, quarterback, running back, we have some new guys coming in. We are going to be young at those positions, but I’m optimistic that we have some good players there who will develop as the year goes on.”

Amiree Alexander and Noah Trepagnier will provide senior leadership on the offensive line. Alexander, a left guard, earned postseason all-state recognition for his efforts last year, while Trepagnier’s performance at center garnered first team all-district honors.

“Those guys have been starting now for a few years. They are both a good size, and they are tough, smart players,” Roussel said.

Sophomore Brock Bourgeois will get the first snap of the game in week one. A dual sport athlete, Bourgeois started in baseball last year and previously served as back-up quarterback for the football team. Roussel watched Bourgeois’ confidence blossom as he showcased his abilities in the spring and summer.

The receiver position will be especially young this year. Roussel sees a bright future ahead for eighth grader Kenrick Johnson, one of the best receivers he has ever coached in high school football. Freshman slot receiver Cameron Matt, who had some playtime last year as an eighth grader, will be another important component to the team.

The Rebels are a little more experienced at all three levels on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive lineman Martrell Henry and linebacker Caleb Brumfield are both juniors who started last season and earned all-state recognition in the postseason. Roussel is looking to them for leadership and expects them to be playmakers in the box. Another integral member of the D-line will be Ahmad Cage.

Defensive back Chance Tyler didn’t have the opportunity to play during his sophomore year due to an ACL injury. Now recovered, he is eager to get back to the field and has already proved himself to be a major component during the spring and summer. Also bringing experience to the defense are all-district players Jayden Butler and Jared Campbell.

Roussel is pleased with what he’s seen thus far during practice.

“Coming into year two, we are getting better at understanding the game and when to use certain techniques, whereas last year, everything was brand new,” Roussel said. “The culture and day-to-day expectations have also gotten a lot better. When the horn blows at 3:10 for practice, everyone is ready to go.”

Riverside’s pre-district schedule includes challenges from competitive teams. The Rebels will be on the road for week one against St. Thomas Aquinas, a perennial team with a new coach and a new energy. In week two, the Rebels will have a chance to redeem their only regular season loss in 2022 against Newman. The following week, Riverside will face Central Catholic Morgan City, the top-seeded team in last year’s 1A select playoffs.

“Our first three weeks are games that can go either way,” Roussel said. “If you don’t play well, they will beat you. If we play well, they are games we can win. It’s good to have test early in the season.”