Crowley’s Football Season Ends Abruptly


Armani Handy

Members of the 2018 football team included, from left, Havonda Smith, Markel Domino, Xy’Terriuis Vallery, Marquis Garrett, and Obadiah Butler.

Armani Handy, Feature Editor

The 2018 Crowley Gents’ season ended short of expectations, falling 35-6 to the Kaplan Pirates in the Class 3A regionals.

The Gents, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year, finished with a record of 8-4 overall.

Armani Handy
Crowley head coach Jeptha Wall

“It was a great season, but we expected to go farther in the playoffs,” stated second-year CHS head coach Jeptha Wall, who has been coaching for 22 years.

He added that he thought the team could’ve done better against Kaplan.  “We just didn’t seem to play as well as we were capable of.”

Wall, 46, explained what he enjoys most about coaching the football team.  “Seeing them grow up in adverse situations and being able to handle them to become better people for the future.”

He thought all of the seniors played better this season, but he thought Havonda Smith improved the most. Smith started on offense and defense for the Gents.

J.C. Webb
Crowley coach Kaine Guidry

Coach Kaine Guidry, 31, who has been coaching for 10 years, gave his opinion of the season.  , “I think this season was a very good season but not the best season because we did not reach our goal of a state championship.”

Like Wall, Guidry believed the team could have done better against Kaplan.  “We made it farther last year in the playoffs, but I believe this team took some strides to be better in the future.”

He thought that Demarcus Dioron and Xy’terrius Vallery improved the most from last year.

He also mentioned that the Gents’ best game was a 20-16 come-from-behind victory over the Church Point Bears in which Crowley stormed back from a 10-point deficit with two late fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Armani Handy
Crowley coach Corde McCall

Coach Corde McCall, 27, who has been coaching for three years, admitted why he enjoys coaching.  “I enjoy coaching because it gives me a chance to be part of something bigger than myself. Being part of a team is something special. Every member has to sacrifice to attempt to reach our goal. This allows us to build special friendships that we may have never had without the game and year.”

He gave his opinion about two games he thought the team could’ve played better in. “Eunice and Kaplan were the most disappointing performances,” he said.

Crowley played Eunice in the fourth game of the season and the first district game.  In a back and forth battle, Eunice secured the 36-32 victory with seconds left in the contest.

In the game against the host Pirates, the visiting Gents scored the first touchdown of the night,  but it was all hosts after that as Kaplan scored the final 35 points.

McCall thought this season was not the best for the Gents.  “I think we could have achieved more, and it’s a little disappointing, but hopefully, it will be fuel for next year.  We ended one game short of last year. I believe the teams are different but very comparable.

“I think we all need to continue to build ourselves as teammates and leaders on the field.”

Armani Handy
Senior football player Havonda Smith

Smith,18, who has been on the football team for all four years, played linebacker and offensive tackle this year.

Smith admitted he didn’t think the team reached its goals.  “Fifty percent didn’t want it as bad as the other 50 percent, so the whole 100 percent wasn’t  there.”

Smith explained what he liked most about playing football. “My favorite thing is the competition. I like when you’re making big plays, the crowd is going crazy, and the other team is talking trash. That’s the best part and playing with teammates.”

Andy Hebert
Crowley football player Markel Domino

Senior Markel Domino,18, who has been playing football since he was five years old, also played football for four years at Crowley High. He was primarily a linebacker this year, but he also played some quarterback.

Domino explained why he isn’t sure if the team accomplished a lot this season. “We beat some good teams people thought we should have lost to and lost to some teams I think we should have beat.”

Domino mentioned how he felt now that season was over.  “Now that the season is over, I feel bored because football is my passion and it ended early.”

Domino thought the team’s best game was a 32-28 come-from-behind road victory over the Northwest Raiders. “It was muddy and wet. We also were eager to play them because they beat us last year. On top of that, I made the game-winning tackle.”

Domino expressed why Kaplan was Crowley’s toughest opponent. “The hardest team we played against this year was Kaplan,” stated Domino. “I think we underestimated them.”

Domino said coach  Kyron “K.B.” Benoit pushed him the most.  “He stayed on my tail until the end,” admitted Domino.

Domino does want to play college football. “I plan on playing football at McNeese (State University) because that’s where I want to go to school.”

Domino wanted to encourage others to play football next year.  “I encourage others to play football next year because it’s fun, and it will make your time in high school better.”

Armani Handy
Crowley football Player Xy’Terrius Vallery

Senior Xy’Terrius Vallery,18,  played right tackle for 2 ½ years for CHS.

Vallery explained how he feels now that the season is over.  “ I feel incomplete because I was used to going to practice four days a week.”

He believes the team accomplished a lot this season. “I do because we only lost three games during our regular season. I think that’s really good.”

Vallery also explained what he thought was the best game of the season. “(It) has to be Church Point because it was a ‘go big or go home’ game.” The Gents trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, but they rallied for the 20-16 road victory and improved their record to 5-3 overall, 3-2 in District 5-3A.

Vallery mentioned that he thought the team could’ve done better in the team’s 36-32 loss to Eunice.   “I feel like there just wasn’t enough effort.”

Vallery stressed that coach Phillip Bourque pushed him the most “because he saw my potential.”

Vallery explained that his favorite coach is coach Wall. “He gave me the opportunity, and he’s a pretty cool guy.”

Vallery expressed the benefits football has had on him. “Football has definitely made me a stronger person both mentally and physically, something I did back in the past. My coaches taught me to never quit, even though you are tired. That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Vallery wanted to encourage others to play football next season.  “It’s a fun learning experience,” he stated.

Vallery added,  “Keep working hard every day and be the best at your position #77.”

Andy Hebert
Crowley football player Marquis Garrett

Junior Marquis Garrett, 17, who has been playing football for 12 years, has been on the Crowley High team all three years.

Garrett expressed how he feels about the team’s accomplishments. “50/50 there’s a lot we did and a lot we didn’t accomplish,” he stated. “We wanted to be district champs, but we fell short. We wanted to be undefeated but lost four games. We wanted to go to the Dome, but we lost in the second round.”

Garrett believes Northwest or Church Point to be the best games.” Northwest or Church Point because it came down to the last series both games.”

He also gave his thoughts about the 35-6 loss to Kaplan in the second round of the playoffs.  “I feel like it’s my fault we lost to Kaplan. I didn’t play to my expectations, and I could’ve done better.” Garrett completed 5-of-13 passes for 34 yards in the contest.

Garrett has been the starting quarterback for all three years, but this year, he also played some wide receiver. He finished the season by completing 96-of-174 attempts for 1,705 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also ran for 246 yards and five scores on 68 carries.

Garrett admits his favorite thing about playing football.  ”It’s a traditional sport for me. I love the hype, the competition, and playing with my friends.”

Garrett stressed this season has taught him something he won’t forget. “To never quit and to always play through adversity; don’t do it for anybody, do it for yourself.”

Garrett explained how football changed him as a person. “Honestly yes it made me stronger both mentally and physically. Mentally, it taught me to fight back through adversity, and physically in the weight room.”

Garrett mentioned how he felt about the season being over. “[I was] discouraged and upset because I didn’t fulfill my personal goals or my goals for the team.”

Garrett gave a special shoutout to teammate Rodney Goodley.  “My favorite defensive player was number 4. He stayed on me (and) never let me quit.”

Garrett also mentioned Donovan  Morris is his favorite coach. “This was my first year with him coaching me and we instantly bonded,” he said. “He pushes me every day and encourages me when I am down.”

Garrett plans on playing football in college.  “I want to continue doing what I love for as long as I possibly can.”

Garrett wants to encourage others to play football. “Yes, because the more players we have, the better off we will be.”

Garrett added, “I had fun playing with this group of seniors that we had.  Big thanks to (Rapheus) ‘Tonky’ Joseph. He pushed me and motivated me all three years I’ve played with him; he never gave up on me, and I appreciate that of him and will miss playing with him next year.”

Crowley football player Obadiah Butler

Junior Obadiah Butler, 16, just completed his third year as a running back for the Gents.

Butler recalled the team’s accomplishments this season. “We won the same amount of games last year.”

Butler explained how he feels about the team’s goals. “I think we could’ve done better if we would’ve practiced the plays more than we did.”

He thought that the team’s 45-6 victory over the Westlake Rams on Sept. 7 was the Gent’s best game.  “It was a team game,” he said.

Butler gave his thoughts on the season coming to an end.  “It’s heartbreaking, but I have another year left to play ball.”

Butler explained that the coaches that pushed him were Morris, Stuart Cook, and Benoit. “They want me to go to college.”

Butler admitted that Morris is his favorite coach. “He pushed me the hardest.”

Butler feels that football has made him a stronger person “physically and mentally.”

He then explained what football has taught him. “Never lose your composure.”

Butler would like to encourage others to play football. “It’s  a great sport, and I think they’ll love it.”

After the season, Butler and senior tight end Rapheus Joseph were named to the All-District first-team offense, while junior defensive lineman Kendall Harmon, Domino, and senior linebacker Demarcus Dioron were selected to the first-team defense.

Butler, who made the team at athlete, had 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns on 166 carries. He also led the parish in receiving with 39 catches for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns. Joseph, who played in the I-10 Bowl following the season, had 30 receptions for 633 yards and nine touchdowns.

Harmon had 56 tackles, 29 assists, five sacks, four hurries, and one fumble recovery. Domino had 56 tackles, 36 assists, one sack, and one caused fumble. Dioron, who also played wide receiver, had 40 tackles, 21 assists, four interceptions.

Selected to the second-team offense were senior running back Jai’Rece Lewis and senior offensive lineman Alex Simon.  The honorable mention selections were Smith, Jayln Suire, Ray Thomas, Garrett, and Vallery.

Joseph was also named to the Class 3A All-State honorable mention team.

Wall had one final comment. “I will miss the senior players and what they brought to the table for the team. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the team mature, and to see the leadership the junior class will bring next season.”