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Warriors seek improvement in new season


Houma Christian senior players for the 2012 season are Nick Callais (11), Keamon Sims (25), Dakota Durks (17), Deron Jasper (31), Gage Porche (64) and Nate Frye (23). (Photo by Chris Singleton/Staff)


Houma Christian's football program took a major step up to the big leagues last season.

The Class 1A Warriors competed in their first-ever 11-man varsity football season in 2011, ending the year with a 2-6 record.

For most schools, a record like that would be a disappointment.

But at Houma Christian, it gave the players and coaches a sign of hope that good things are on the horizon.

Houma Christian returns a team of 25 players this season, which includes six seniors, one junior and 18 sophomores and freshmen combined.

Warriors coach Chad Callais, who shares the coaching duties with Houma Christian athletic director Chuck Battaglia, said last season was a learning experience for the young Warriors, but he believes they are starting to grow after playing a difficult varsity schedule.

"It's exciting to go into our second year," Houma Christian coach Chad Callais said. "Our program started from scratch. We can see the kids developing. We've got a bunch of kids back. We're young, so it's all a process. We do have a little experience. Just to see how the kids are picking up things and developing as a football program is exciting."

Although Houma Christian is young in areas, it has six seniors (Nate Frye, Nick Callais, Gage Porche, Dakota Durks, Keamon Sims and Deron Jasper) who will lead the team this year.

"I'm very excited to go out there and play another year," Sims said. "We want to keep it going, never give up and keep fighting."

One of the key seniors will be Frye, a running back who also spent time at quarterback for the Warriors last season. He finished with 633 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns as a running back and passed for 334 yards with five touchdowns as a quarterback.

Entering his senior year, Frye said he originally planned to sit out the football season. As one of the area's top senior basketball recruits for the Class of 2013, he is receiving looks from major colleges across the country, and he wanted to focus more on basketball.

But once he saw the football team practicing during fall drills, he changed his mind and decided to rejoin the team.

"I've attended this school since first grade, and I just didn't want to leave the team like that," Frye said. "We've got a lot of new guys coming in. They look up to me. Whether I like it or not, I have to be a leader on and off the field, in the classroom and the hallways. I felt like I wanted to come out and help the guys and provide leadership to the team."

Callais said the Warriors welcomed Frye back will open arms.

"Anytime you can have an athlete of that caliber as Nate is, it's a tremendous boost to our team," Callais said. "He's one of the best athletes in our area. Nate is a great kid. Everyone likes him and he gets along with everybody. He has a great personality. It just gives the team a lift to know you got a guy like that on the team. He can make a whole lot of plays. The team is excited to have him. He's obviously going to be a boost for us."

Houma Christian will center its offense on running the option out of the spread formation. With playmakers like Frye, Sims and starting quarterback Daniel Achee' and experienced returners on the offensive line like tackle Porche and guard Noah Callais, Coach Callais said the Warriors could have success on offense this season.

"We got some guys who can carry the ball," Callais said. "We got a little meat up front. If those guys can open the holes, we got a chance to move the ball and hopefully put some points on the board."

Defensively, Houma Christian gave up 41.5 points per game last year. If they hope to win games this year, Callais said the Warriors' defense must continue to improve its tackling.

"At the beginning of last year, it was rough on defense," Callais said. "We were just trying to grasp the whole concept of it, but as the year went on, we got better defensively. We are hoping to pick up where we left off at the end of last year. If we can do that, our team will be improved."

The Warriors, which compete in District 10-1A, will get the advantage of playing four home games at their own stadium off of La. 311 this season. They played the seven of their eight games on the road last year, mostly because their home stadium wasn't ready on time.

Callais said the stadium is still waiting to add lights, but everything else is ready and they will play their first four regular-season home games against False River, Archbishop Hannah, Ecole Classique and Country Day at 4 p.m. They will play their final two (Highland Baptist on Oct. 19 and Ridgewood Prep on Nov. 2) at 7 p.m. in Vandebilt Catholic's Buddy Marcello Stadium.

Frye said it is a blessing that the school will be able to play home games this season, especially after being on the road for most of last season. He said it will help the team have success this year.

"I think the main thing is trusting God," Frye said. "He's always done great things with the school and the athletic program. There is no way that we are supposed to do some of the things that we do, but He has made it happen. I think we're going to do some special things this year. I think God really has something in store for this team, and He's going to guide the coaches and keep us all safe."