Why E.D. White Catholic football attributes its success to Layne Gravois’ memory

Chris Singleton
The Courier

Collin Gravois believes the E.D. White Catholic High football team has been blessed with divine intervention this season.

The senior defensive back is the younger brother of Layne Gravois, a Thibodaux native and former E.D. White player who died helping save a young boy from drowning April 8. Layne was just 21.

E.D. White coach Kyle Lasseigne said Layne’s death shocked everyone. The Cardinals dedicated their season to him.

The Cardinals (10-0) have advanced to the Division II state championship game against University High (12-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Cajun Field in Lafayette. It is E.D. White’s first trip to the championship game since 1981.

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“This whole season has been pretty unbelievable how everything happened and went down,” Collin said. “A lot of people doubting us. We’ve proved everyone wrong this year. I think a lot of it has to do with my brother honestly. Everyone here attributes our success to him because a lot of our success has been unbelievable. It’s more of a fact of not believing in coincidence and believing in miracles. I think this season has been pretty miraculous.”

Layne, who was a student at LSU, and two others saw the boy in distress and entered the Gulf of Mexico before being pulled in by a rip current. The incident occurred off Miramar Beach in Florida, east of Destin, according to the Walton County Sheriff's Office. Layne was rescued but later died at a local hospital. He was on spring break at the time.

The two others trying to help were Nicholls State University students. Both were hospitalized and were treated and released.

Collin Gravois (right) said his older brother Layne Gravois (left) was his biggest inspiration. Layne Gravois, a Thibodaux native and former E.D. White football player, died while helping save a young boy from drowning in April.

Layne graduated from E.D. White in 2018 and was a standout defensive back.

“I have a lot of great memories of Layne. With Collin now being part of the team, I thought we had to support Collin and his family in these moments,” Lasseigne said. “It was dedicated to Layne because of the kind of kid he was. It’s given tremendous support for Collin as he plays his senior year for us. It’s been some inspiration for our kids.”

A sign honoring the life of Layne Gravois was placed near the entrance into E.D. White's Harvey Peliter Stadium in Thibodaux.

Lasseigne said he believes Layne has tipped things in E.D. White’s favor during games. The Cardinals have won all 10 coin tosses this season.

“There are times when I look at the skies and try to figure out why what happened just happened and the only thing I can attribute it to was Layne looking down upon us,” Lasseigne said. “I think he’s had something to do with the undefeated season and I think he’s got something to do with us playing in the state championship.”

Collin, who has over 25 tackles and a pass breakup, said there have been other coincidences. He wears Layne’s old jersey No. 26. He sacked five-star St. Thomas More quarterback Walker Howard on the 26-yard line during a 31-21 win in the semifinals on Nov. 26. Lasseigne is also in his 26th season of coaching.

“Some of the things that have happened are so special that you have to think it’s him,” Collin said. “You have to be blind not to see all the signs.”

E.D. White's Collin Gravois (26) applies pressure on St. Thomas More quarterback Walker Howard (15) during a Division II state semifinal football game in Thibodaux on Nov. 26.

Collin said his brother was a hero for willing to risk his life to save someone else. He is dedicated to following in his footsteps as a leader.

“His name is well alive here in the city and the school halls,” Collin said. “I think we’re doing everything we can to honor him for sure. It just shows what kind of person he was. Whenever he was here, he would always give himself before anything else. He was a very selfless person.

“I’ve modeled my game after him my whole life. I tried to be like him my whole life. He set the perfect example for me. I’m just trying to follow his footsteps. The closer I get to that, the better I am in life.”

Reach Chris Singleton at 985-857-2213 or chris.singleton@houmatoday.com and on Twitter @courierchris.