A year to remember
We’ve reached the part of the year that kids love.
The school year is coming to a close, giving way to summer vacation—three months filled with sleeping late, relaxing poolside, taking trips to the beach and enjoying every second they’re not stuck in a classroom.
However, it’s not a good time of year for fans of prep athletics. With the end of school comes the end of high-school sports.
Football won’t begin to heat up until late-July, early-August, when the teams begin their fall camps to prepare for their regular seasons.
We have just a few things to get us by until then.
There’s the American Legion baseball season, along with other recreation action from the diamond. Also, next month, St. Amant will host the Airo seven-on-seven football tournament.
So, as we make that long wait until August, let’s reflect on the great year of high-school athletics we just had in 2016-17.
The year got off to a horrid start as the catastrophic August flood swept through Ascension Parish just two weeks before the high-school football season was set to begin.
St. Amant took the brunt of the devastation as the school was engulfed by the flood waters, along with the houses of many of their students and coaches.
Fortunately for the Gators, so many folks in the Ascension community rallied behind them and helped them rebuild and make the long road to recovery.
With the Gold Dome flooded, Dutchtown welcomed the St. Amant volleyball team with open arms and allowed them to play their home games in their gym.
What a strong season it was for the Lady Gators as they took home another district title and made another trip to Kenner for the Volleyball State Tournament.
Behind a superb senior class, the football team had one of their best seasons in school history as they went 9-1 during the regular season, averaged 45 points per game and finished as runner-up in District 5-5A.
The Gators went on to make a run to the state quarterfinals, before losing to eventual state runner-up West Monroe.
Also notable, Ascension Christian set a new school record for most wins in a single season with eight.
On National Signing Day, there were 15 parish football players from four different schools that signed with colleges. The biggest signings included East Ascension’s Adrian Ealy signing with Oklahoma and Justin Harris signing with Baylor and Dutchtown’s Adam Sparks signing with Missouri.
After 15 years, Benny Saia stepped down as Dutchtown head coach. Saia started the program from scratch and led the Griffins to 110 wins.
To replace him, the school hired Guy Mistretta—a coach that has won two state championships.
Basketball was dominated by East Ascension as the boy’s and girl’s teams both went undefeated in district play and won a combined 49 regular-season games.
The boys entered the playoffs as the top seed in Class 5A, while the girls were the No. 2 seed.
Ascension Christian’s girl’s team made school history by winning their first ever playoff game.
In soccer, the St. Amant girl’s soccer team won their first district title in 12 years, and the boys won back-to-back district crowns for the first time in school history.
The St. Amant boys ended up reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2011.
The softball season saw St. Amant win another district championship and make another trip to Sulphur for the state tournament under first-year coach Amy Pitre.
Ascension Catholic reached Sulphur first the fifth straight year.
In baseball, Ascension Christian won their first playoff game in school history under first-year head coach Conrad Gayle.
After losing three straight state quarterfinal games, Ascension Catholic finally got the monkey off of their backs as they beat Catholic of Pointe Coupee to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2005.
They ended up losing an epic 11-inning game to top-seeded Central Catholic in the semifinals.
Donaldsonville’s baseball program was resurrected as they went 12-2 under first-year head coach Garrett Maum. It was their first winning season in over 17 years.
Staying in the city of Donaldsonville, Ascension Catholic won three state championships this year.
They won a state title in cross-country, and they captured their third straight state championships in both girl’s weightlifting and girl’s outdoor track and field.