Head coach Brian Richardson said this team will be “starting from scratch” in 2018.

In just one offseason, things have taken a 180-degree turn for Donaldsonville.

At this time last year, they were preparing for the regular season with a roster filled with experienced senior leaders hungry to rebound from a 4-6 campaign the previous year.

Fast forward to a season later, and all of those key seniors are gone. Now, the Tigers are left with widespread youth and inexperience.

Head coach Brian Richardson said this team will be “starting from scratch” in 2018.

Last year’s squad was a special one for Donaldsonville.

The Tigers went 7-3 during the regular season and won their first playoff game since 2014. The eight total victories was the most for the program in seven years.

Second-year starting quarterback Jaylen Williams put up huge numbers. He passed for more than 2,000 yards with 24 touchdowns, while running for nearly 500 yards.

Ladarius Jackson came up with 34 catches for 739 yards and nine touchdowns on his way to earning All-State honors at receiver.

Jemon Pleasant was an all-district and All-Parish running back, and lineman Davon Wright and linebacker Tahj Brown both signed with Division-I programs. Wright went to Tulane, while Brown chose Houston.

All five of those standouts are gone in 2018, including all-district linemen Kadarrion Jones and D’Ondre Fisher.

The bulk of Donaldsonville’s 2018 rebuild will be to their offense. They return just two starters from that side of the ball.

The biggest question mark will be at the quarterback position. During the spring, Richardson said that Joshua Collier and Treyvon Brown were both competing for the starting spot.

Collier is the oldest of the two. He’s a sophomore, while Brown is just a freshman.

Fortunately for Donaldsonville, they’ll return a dependable receiver in Jeffery Johnson, and Richardson has high hopes for senior athlete Christian “Muppetbaby” Bell.

In addition to getting offensive snaps, the explosive Bell has been a dangerous return man for the Tigers for the past two years.

Some first-year starters to watch out for at receiver will be Tyrese Ester and Devonte LeBlanc.

Richardson is expecting Rae’land Johnson to take over at starting running back, and Jalen Winchester, Aquindas Rodrigue and Willie Picou will anchor the offensive line.

Defensively, Donaldsonville lost some heavy-hitters in the front seven, but Richardson is thrilled that a large portion of his secondary remains intact.

This until will be led by returning all-district defensive back Savon Landry and Jaquaivus Tenner.

Richardson also has high hopes for his linebacking corps.

Devon Turner returns as an all-district performer. He’ll be joined by Travis Joseph and first-year starters in Joel Walker and Trevon Mitchell.

“For the last three years, our biggest strength has been our front line. We’ve had five guys from there that have signed scholarships. Now, it’s flip-flopped,” Richardson said. “The front line is really young, and the secondary is starting to step up a little bit. We have juniors and seniors in the secondary now.

“That was our weakness the last two years, but now we’re looking at them to bail us out. They have to cover people, they have to come up and make tackles, because that front line is so young. They haven’t seen varsity speed yet, and they’re going to be shocked.”

The Tigers’ schedule will be as challenging as ever in 2018.

They’ll have tough non-district games against Assumption, Port Allen and Livonia. Once they do step into District 7-3A play, they’ll have tussles with St. James, St. Charles and De La Salle.

Their season opener will come on the road against Assumption on Aug. 31. They’ve beaten the Mustangs four of the past five years, but those wins have come by a combined 16 points.