The Crusaders will be better on offense this season entering year two in the system installed by coach Vinnie Bullara and his coaching staff. Ken Jones is tough as nails at running back and will use his size and speed to pound defenses for yards and open up room for sophomore Kaleb Prudhomme in the passing game. The offensive line has some experience and size, especially on the right side, and should help open some running lanes for Jones. Ross O’Connor is experienced on the outside and will give Prudhomme an option when the Crusaders go to the air.
The defense is anchored by Jones and Zach Thomas at the middle linebacker positions. Both are athletic enough to stop the run sideline-to-sideline and drop into coverage on passing downs. Big Antoine White in the middle of the defense line will clog things up for opposing offenses and allow Jones and Thomas to knife into the backfield and make plays if he can occupy two blockers. O’Connor picked off two passes last year and will be the last line of defense at free safety again for the Crusaders.
Obviously, depth is a concern for the Crusaders. With only 32 players on the roster any injuries to main players would be devastating to Bullara’s squad. The defensive secondary is young with two new starters at cornerback and teams with solid passing attacks might be able to expose the Crusaders on the outside.
The offense is led by a sophomore in Prudhomme and while Bullara is confident in his quarterback the youth at such a crucial position would make any coach at least a little nervous.
The new district is weak after it was reconfigured by the LHSAA and with a good summer in the weight room and four more coaches on staff to give individual instruction the Crusaders will show improvement from last season’s one-win total.
The Crusaders have seven coaches on the staff now and Bullara liked being able to give more individual instruction and thought it would help the Crusaders improve more rapidly.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ken Jones, RB/LB, Junior: Jones is the heart and soul of the Crusaders despite being only a junior. Coach Bullara said if he had 11 Ken Jones’ on each side of the ball he could compete for a state championship. High praise from a tough coach.
Kaleb Prudhomme, QB, Sophomore: Prudhomme is smart and tough and will be expected to lead the Crusaders offense this season. Despite being only a sophomore he’s picked up the offense well thanks to his work ethic and Bullara said the game has slowed down for him in his second season.
Zach Thomas, LB/TE/RB, Junior: Thomas is probably pound-for-pound the strongest player on the Crusaders squad and lives, eats and breathes football. A strong, physical presence on both sides of the ball, Thomas will be a leader for the Crusaders by the way he plays on the field.
Noah Launey, RB, Senior: Launey isn’t the biggest running back around, but he’s tough and often shows that extra wiggle or balance to fall forward for an extra yard or two. One of the eight seniors for the Crusaders, Launey will be a big piece of their offense.
Ross O’Connor, WR/FS, Senior: O’Connor led the Crusaders in interceptions last season and will be counted upon again, especially with two inexperienced corners in front of him. While the Crusaders offense is primarily rushing based, O’Connor provides an athletic option on the outside for Prudhomme to target.
4 Covenant Christian
25 Ascension Christian
2 MORGAN CITY
9 Catholic – P.C.
23 ST. EDMUND
30 False River
6 NORTH CENTRAL
2014 In Review
Lost Ville Platte 38-9
Lost PORT BARRE 36-0
Lost KAPLAN 32-6
Lost White Castle 30-13
Lost ST. EDMUND 44-0
Lost Delcambre 22-7
Lost CATHOLIC – N.I. 61-0
Lost LOREAUVILLE 54-1
Beat Jeanerette 34-26
Lost Opelousas Catholic 49-7
Lost Opelousas Catholic 35-0
Last Five Years
Projected Starting Lineup
TE: Kannon Deville, 5-10, 175 pounds, Sr.*
WR: Ian Briley, 5-10, 170 pounds, Sr.*
WR: Ross O’Connor, 5-10, 165 pounds, Sr.
WR: Cole Fournet, 5-7, 135 pounds, Soph.
LT: Mason Hughes, 6-0, 220 pounds, Sr.
LG: Wesley Tomlinson, 5-10, 185 pounds, Sr.
C: Grayson Stepanek, 6-0, 185 pounds, Soph.*
RG: Antoine White, 5-10, 275 pounds, Jr.
RT: Louis Champagne, 6-2, 240 pounds, Jr.
QB: Kaleb Prudhomme, 5-10, 150 pounds, Soph.
RB: Ken Jones, 6-1, 215 pounds, Jr.
RB: Noah Launey, 5-9, 165 pounds, Sr.
FB: Brandon Vidrine, 5-9, 185 pounds, Jr.
DE: Abram Bender, 6-1, 215 pounds, Soph.*
DE: Louis Champgne, 6-2, 240 pounds, Jr.*
DT: Antoine White, 5-10, 275 pounds, Jr.
DT: Michael Sibille, 5-9, 185 pounds*
OLB: Noah Launey, 5-9, 165 pounds, Sr.
OLB: Cole Fournet, 5-7, 135 pounds, Sph.
MLB: Ken Jones, 6-1, 215 pounds, Sr.
MLB: Zach Thomas, 5-11, 205 pounds, Jr.
MLB: Landon Trosclair, 5-10, 150 pounds, Fr.
CB: Gene Kraemer, 5-10, 165 pounds, Jr.*
CB: Kannon Deville, 5-10, 175 pounds, .*
FS: Ross O’Connor, 5-10, 165 pounds
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Westminster Christian was in the middle of a long stretch of consistency in 2008, mostly due to its work in the trenches. Those starters that season included: Eric Scott (57), Jacob Kehrer (63), Brandon Porche (55), Addison King (76) and Lucas Breaux (53).