YOUNGSVILLE – While many people may think the most difficult part of building a successful football program may be trying to convince students who are talented to attend your school, but for Ascension Episcopal that is not the case.
Ascension Episcopal believed from the moment they hired Eric Mouton as their athletic director, Randy Johnson and since Michael Desormeaux as their head coaches, that they had the right pieces in place to build a winner.
All they were missing was getting everyone on board to believe that they were capable of being successful on the football field.
“I don’t think anyone else believed we could be successful so quickly, but I did,” said Desormeaux, who is in his third year at AES but in only his second season as the head coach. “I think some people may have even thought I was crazy because I believed that, but I really did. I knew what we had here and I really felt that we had the guys in place ability wise to be successful. The key for us was getting the kids to believe that we could be successful.”
If getting his players to believe that success was within their grasp was the mission, then consider it mission accomplished.
The Blue Gators, who have been one of the surprise teams this year as they’ve posted an impressive 7-2 overall record and a 4-1 district record, have the chance to do something on Friday that their football program has never done – play for the District 7-1A championship.
“Honestly, I haven’t tried to downplay what we have accomplished and what we have the chance to accomplish,” said Desormeaux, whose Blue Gators will travel to face the defending Division IV state champions Vermilion Catholic at 7 p.m. on Thursday. “I make a big deal out of every week, but I have told our kids that if you want to be a great team then you are going to have to beat great teams. The opportunity to play for the district championship is extremely exciting and it is something that we are looking forward to. To see where we have come from to where we are now is awesome and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
And when Desormeaux says “a part of it” he means just that as he refuses to take all of the credit for the success the Blue Gators’ football program has enjoyed under his guidance.
“A lot of the pieces were in place here before I came,” Desormeaux said. “From the moment the school hired Eric as the A.D. that is where it all started. You are talking about a guy who is a great basketball coach and he is coming from a school that has had a lot of success. Then Randy Johnson had already installed a lot of things that you need to have if you are going to be successful such as summer workout programs and stuff like that. That was already in place. So, when I came in there was a lot of things that I didn’t have to worry about. I’m actually fortunate to be able to come into this situation, because I didn’t have to start the program from the ground up. There were a bunch of people who were committed to AES becoming successful and I mean from the administration to coaches to the parents and the kids themselves.”
Regardless of what happens on Thursday, Desormeaux stated he is proud of his Blue Gators and what they have done.
“We’re fighting a culture change,” Desormeaux said. “Anytime you take over something that is new or something that hasn’t been successful you have to work hard to change it. These guys have worked hard to change it. We have a great vibe at our school right now with us having a winning record and playing for a district title and volleyball being ranked No. 2. There is a lot to be happy about over here, so we’re going to go out and play our best and let whatever happens happen.”