After reaching the Class 4A quarterfinals last year, Westgate looks to reload with 14 returning starters.
True, the Tigers said goodbye to receiver Kayshon Boutte, the most celebrated player in school history, along with receiver Makholven Sonn, but junior quarterback Brennan Landry is back. Boutte, a five-star recruit, signed with LSU and is expected to start for the Tigers as a true freshman this fall.
Last year, Landry passed for 1,859 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions during the regular season.
“Brennan had a good year last year,” WHS head coach Ryan Antoine said. “But it was more or less managing the game. Now with him going into his junior year, we’re going to put more ownership on him to make better throws.
“Some people may think it was the other players who made him have a good year, so he’ll need to make sure to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke. He’ll have to make some throws because let’s be honest. Boutte and Sonn aren’t here anymore.”
Junior receivers Jordan Doucet and Danny Lewis do return, as does senior Cookie Allen.
“They each bring a different skill set,” Antoine said. “Jordan is a home-run threat. Cookie is versatile inside and outside.
“Danny is a possession receiver, a combination tight end, H-Back, receiver, and he also played some quarterback for us.”
The 6-foot-4 Lewis recently picked up his first two scholarship offers.
“Amaaz Eugene is a first-year starter as a sophomore,” Antoine said. “He’s more of a scatback type.”
Last year’s leading rusher, Kevion Sophus, will carry and catch the ball.
“We’re going to use him at receiver and running back like we did with Boutte last year,” Antoine said. “We want to get him in some favorable one-on-one matchups.”
The offensive line returns three starters, including highly regarded center Ashton Francis (6-4, 260), junior tackle Edwin Pierre Jr. (6-2, 270) and four-starter Benny Druilhet (5-8, 225, Sr.).
The defense must replace DBs Blayne Delahoussaye (Southeastern Louisiana) and Keydrain Calligan (Louisiana-Monroe), but that unit is the deepest on the team.
“We return a lot of kids in the secondary,” Antoine said. “Derek Williams had a good freshman year. He’s getting a lot of attention as the No. 4 safety in the country for the Class of 2023.
“Demarion “Smokey” Davis started every game as a sophomore. He’s 5-7 but plays like he’s 6-0. Camron Spencer is a work in progress. He’s 6-2 and runs a 10.7 (100-meter dash). He has some consistency issues. Once he comes into his own, we’ll have an added dimension.”
Last year’s leading tackler returns in Zyion Madison, who made all-state as a sophomore.
“Zyion and Daniel Heron both lead our defense,” Antoine said.
“Jacavion Jacob is a sophomore we’re expecting big things from at linebacker. He’s 6-2, 210, and fast as a cat, and defensive lineman Bradley Lewis started every game as a sophomore.”