The past decade has been the most successful decade in the history of the Isidore Newman football show and last season was another great addition to this list.
The Greenies finished the regular season undefeated and reached the state semifinals for the second year in a row. A narrow defeat to eventual state champion Lafayette Christian was the only obstacle that prevented Newman from making it to the state finals for the first time.
There is much to look back on with pride for head coach Nelson Stewart and company; however, they are not satisfied from their 2020 campaign.
“We couldn’t be more focused, motivated and ready to work and get better every day in preparation for the fall,” explains Stewart, a Newman alum and former Tulane quarterback.
What will the Greenies have to do without some key seniors from last season including two-way star Sterling Scott, defensive player Joshua Koeppel and winger/back Will Hardie, along with wide range players. John Charbonnet and Pike Philbert. But the one on Jefferson Avenue was a long way off.
“We feel very strongly that we will improve,” explains Stewart. “We have a lot of players coming back to the game experience, especially the big game experience.”
Expectations are once again high for the powerful attacking lead of brilliant midfielder Arch Manning (6’4″, 210). A name that has become familiar to most of Louisiana and even the country by this point, this schoolboy is one of the nation’s most sought-after newcomers.
“Because of his personality, he’s not really attention-seeking or really paying attention to it,” Stewart notes. “We are really just focused on the team. We focus on our work in the weighing room, there are good settings and there are dedicated settings for us to eliminate noise. We aim to focus on teammates. “
Stewart is confident his back four can not only cope with the pressure he puts on him, but Manning is also humble enough to grow with that. After generating a statistical line of 1922 yards of passes, 21 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while completing 67% of his passes in 10 games, more is expected this season. . He also ran 38 times for 274 yards and 8 touchdowns, showing that he is more than just a pocket passer.
Manning will have a variety of weapons at his disposal, including last year’s top recipient AJ Johnson (6’4″, 205). Committed LSU has plenty of opportunities for him when it comes to catching 40 passes, in 558 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Opposite Johnson will be junior Kai Donaldson (6’4″, 195 years old), who will be looking to build a solid second season with 26 receptions for 373 yards and three touchdowns. .
Tight finish Will Randle (6’4″, 240) is also back in his junior year. Last season, he accumulated 19 hits for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“Is Randle bigger, faster and stronger, and we can build everything around him?” Stewart bragged. “I can’t say enough about him… he has really matured into an even better player.”
Randle was also a major contributor to defense, as he scored 28 tackles, 9.0 losses and 3.0 shots. Over the course of the season, he received offers from big-time shows like LSU and Texas.
Stewart and offensive line coach Jason Matthews will be much larger than usual in the trenches this season.
“Our playstyle has become a lot stronger and a lot more physical,” says Stewart. “We’re going to weigh 220 (pounds or more) this year.”
Upfront on offense, the Greenies will rely on another LSU pledge, disposing of Bo Bordelon (6’6″, 280). His younger brother Brett Bordelon (6’4″, 240) will start in a suitable handler position as a freshman.
The defense led by coordinator Dustin Nothnagel is having a remarkable year as they hold off seven out of 10 opponents with a single-digit aggregate score. A solid group of startups return from last year back.
Senior full-back John Guillot (6’0″, 190) had a great year in 2020 as he made 25 tackles, 5 conceded and 3 disqualified the midfielder.
Junior Ramaj Waiters (6’1″, 230) joined Randle and Guillot in defence, giving Newman a very strong and solid front. The waiters produced 45 sacks, 11 lost bags and 2.0 sacks from within the Greenies line. Brandon Wilkins (6’2″, 290), ineligible last year, adds a huge new presence to the inner defence.
“Ramaj Waiters and Brandon Wilkins… we’re really excited about those two being able to work together. I’m really excited about our number seven defense forward and we have a very solid chance in the race,” said Stewart.
Chris Hunter (6’1″, 175) will once again take over the freestyle safe, where he made 16 tackles and three interceptions for Newman last year. He will also contribute to the attack. Stewart added: “Chris has had the best summer as a wide record player from start to finish, he’s been great.
Jack Robert (5’10”, 175) will return for his senior season at full-back, giving the Greenies even more experience in second place. Not a typical corner, he excelled as a running defender and sometimes lunged at the passer. Last year, he had 22 tackles, 4.0 conceded and 2.0 bags from outside.
The Greenies have seven of the season’s 10 regular games at home, so they’ll be spending a lot of time in Michael Lupin Field’s friendly areas.
Newman opens the 2021 season with a match against upstream foe Lusher. Week 2 will be the Greenies’ first big test, as they will head to the Reserve to take on the Riverside Academy Rebels. Last year’s bout was a thriller that saw Newman win overall, 31-26.
Week 3 will start a four-game house for the Greenies, as they will face longtime powerhouse West St. John, Metairie Park Country Day, Pearl River and Fisher on their home turf.
Newman heads to LaPlace to face their rival, the Catholic Comet St. Charles. Last year’s game was a low scoring match because both defenses played exceptionally. Newman ultimately took a 14-7 win over the Division III runner-up..
Week 8 will be one of the biggest games in show history as Berkeley Prep will travel all the way from Tampa Bay, Florida to face the Greenies in New Orleans. This game can be nationally televised. Newman had a match against Booker T. Washington that was broadcast by ESPN last year.
Newman will face Cohen at home and then wrap up the 2021 regular season with a trip to Port Sulfur to face the South Plaquemines Hurricanes.
“It’s a well-balanced schedule, and certainly my hope is that in time we’ll know where we stand.” Stewart detailed, “In terms of status and we’ll know what we need to work on.”
Despite the years of success Stewart’s offense has brought to his show over the years, he believes there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“Hopefully we will be able to bring another layer of complexity into our ongoing game. We can accomplish a lot this season and I think we’ll be able to expand on what we do in all three phases – that’s throwing, that’s also running football and their tempo I. “
Complacency is not the word to describe Stewart’s Greenies, a collective that has yet to reach its peak despite so many great teams and players over the years.
“The goal is to improve on every shortcoming that we have seen (last year) which means that our goal is obviously to win the national championship, it has to continue like that. We have been very close many times. “
Having a complete team that can win in a variety of ways is Newman’s ultimate goal if they end up winning the state title.
“What do we have to do to get to that level of excellence, one is we have to play great defensively, we have to run the football and we have to win first… we want to be old school. .”
In fact, the most successful Greenie teams aren’t always the flashiest teams or the ones that win by ingenuity. Those teams are grinders that can scrape every inch of the grid. Winning in victory is what separates the good Newman team from the great ones. This year’s team seems to have all the elements to do just that.
“Having been to the semifinals in three of the last four seasons and after a tight loss to the LCA, we are very focused and determined to get better,” said Stewart.
Newman doesn’t have much left to do to make the better the best.
Click here for more CCS Prep Football team previews (including archives of last season’s previews).
https://crescentcitysports.com/football-preview-newman-on-doorstep-of-greatness-state-title-glory/ | Newman on doorstep of greatness, state title glory – Crescent City Sports