Three years ago, just a couple practices after the North DeSoto Griffins had gathered to prepare for the 2009 season, head coach Scott Abernathy suddenly heard a loud smash — the unmistakable noise of a clean, yet violent, football play.
It didn’t come from the varsity gathering, but the freshman group. The Griffins coaches snapped their heads to catch the aftermath.
“He just blew some poor kid up,” Abernathy said. “We were like, ‘Wow, that kid needs to be on this side.”
Ever since, that kid, Dustin Brossette, has been on that side. The varsity side.
In a few weeks, Brossette will begin his fourth season as a starter for the Class 3A Griffins.
“I just wanted to impress,” Brossette said of his mind-set as an incoming freshman. “I just wanted to hit hard and be able to tackle.”
Brossette dreamed of playing defense at North DeSoto, but that first year, the Griffins needed a tight end.
“I didn’t mind helping the team in any way I could,” Brossette said.
“He’s that kid everybody wants as a coach,” Abernathy said.
While Brossette is often — and understandably — overshadowed by teammate Hakim Gray, the Griffins’ monstrous 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive end committed to Louisiana Tech, he has a large presence on the Griffins’ defense.
“He’s the coach on the field,” Abernathy said of Brossette, who is set for his third season at linebacker (he’ll still play at tight end, too).
Brossette doesn’t take credit for much of the coaching on the field. He’s aware there’s plenty of room for error.
“Yeah, you call the front, but if you mess up, Hakim will help bail you out,” Brossette said. “He’s a weapon.”
Inconsistency plagued the Griffins’ defense during a 4-7 campaign in 2011. There were games North DeSoto allowed just a touchdown or two and times the opponent would hang 40 on the Griffins.
“We just have to trust each other and communicate,” Brossette said. “I feel like we’ll be way better on defense with (eight) starters coming back.”
Brossette is unwavering about his goals for 2012. “Win state — anything else is a failed season,” he said.
Following his senior year, Brossette hopes to continue his football career close to home.
“ULM and Northwestern State are my two favorites,” he said. “I like Southeastern and ULL, too.”
Although Abernathy believes Brossette is 6-2, 212 pounds, his senior set the record straight Sunday.
“I’m 6 foot,” he said. “I feel like I’m 6-4, 240 … that’s how I try to play.”
Brossette wears No. 12, the same as Super Bowl champions Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. And it’s not just a coincidence.
“They are the best at their position,” Brossette said. “I want to do the same. I want to be the best linebacker in Louisiana.”
His teammates expect the same.
“He sets the front, calls the calls,” Abernathy said. “He’s always been that guy. All those kids know he’s the leader.”
Connect with Roy Lang III on Twitter at @RoyLangIII.