Line expected to be strength of Erath team

Senior offensive lineman Austin Hebert (77) returns this season after tearing his ACL in the first week of the 2019 football season. Four starters return on the offensive line for the Bobcats.

ERATH — Under head coach Eric LeBlanc, Erath High School has proven its mettle as a Class 3A football program.

Each of the past two years, the Bobcats have gone on the road in the playoffs and narrowly missed upset bids versus higher-seeded opponents.

This year’s EHS squad will be a blue-collar group paced by its interior linemen.

“We have six or seven senior offensive linemen,” LeBlanc said. “The offensive line is the one spot where we have a lot of guys coming back. We are returning four starters.”

The top lineman, 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior Austin Hebert, is eager to get on the field.

“Austin tore his ACL in Week 1 last year,” LeBlanc said. “We missed him last year. We really did.

“Gage Hebert will be starting at center for the fourth year. He’s a good-sized kid at 6-1, 240. He’s the leader of the offensive line. Cody LeBlanc and Cade Renard are coming back. Four of the five are senior returning starters. We have a junior who is going to play left tackle for us in Gavin Broussard. That’s going to be the best part of our team. No doubt.”

The line will be blocking for a brand-new group of skill players.

Gabe Primeaux, a starting receiver last year, will move to quarterback.

“We have to replace Luke LeBlanc,” Eric LeBlanc said. “He broke 20-30 school records over here. He’s a great kid and was a great quarterback. He set the tone for how the program is supposed to be run and set a tradition, which is really nice.

“We had another good quarterback and athlete come in last year when Luke was injured in Ryan Richard. Unfortunately, he transferred to Teurlings Catholic. We have a good, experienced player who played wideout for us the past couple of years in Gabe Primeaux. He’ll now be the quarterback.”

Also a starting safety, Primeaux will rarely come off the field.

“He’s never played quarterback, so he has a big learning curve to go,” LeBlanc said. “I think we’re working through the process every day.

“We have a couple of good freshmen behind him, but those two guys are a long ways off from playing varsity football. Right now, it’s Gabe’s show. Hopefully, he’s going to continue to improve.”

The Bobcats graduated four receivers, four linebackers and both of last year’s leading rushers.

“Gabe was one of our starting receivers, but we had to move him to quarterback,” LeBlanc said. “We’re inexperienced at receiver, but athletically I feel like these guys can do a lot of things for us.”

“Trent Bristo and Brett Suire, who started at safety for us, will be the primary running backs. Last year, we had two seniors at running back. We had a large senior group last year. Last year, Jax Thibodeaux and Lane LeBlanc were senior backs.”

Linebackers Ethan Goutierrez and Logan Lemaire are players to watch.

“Ethan started the last two games of the season,” LeBlanc said. “He and Logan Lemaire are very similar in size. They’re both around 5-9, 200. There’s no doubt that our two inside linebackers are going to be very good.

“Those guys are going to be rocking and rolling at linebacker.”

Ever Palacios (5-9, 185, Sr.) is a three-year starter as nose tackle.

“We have a good battle taking place at outside linebacker,” LeBlanc said. “Again, we feel really good about the secondary. Brett Suire started for us as a sophomore safety. Our quarterback, Gabe Primeaux, is also a starting safety.

“We’re going to be rolling a lot of guys in there so we can see who can offer us the things we’re looking for, and who will give us that effort every snap.”

Erath (5-6 in 2019) will take on Morgan City in the season opener.

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