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Warriors eying playoffs in second varsity season

Houma Christian senior running back Nate Frye (left) is fourth in the area with 515 yards on the ground this season and has helped the Warriors to a 3-2 mark so far. Houma Christian is competing in just its second season of varsity football. (Photo by File Photo)

A season ago, the Houma Christian Warriors were just happy to be playing varsity football.

Now, in Year 2 of the varsity program, the Warriors have their own home field, are 3-2 on the season (2-1 in District 10-1A) and are eying a playoff berth.

"The guys have improved drastically from last year to this year," Warriors coach Chuck Battaglia said. "We started having success early, and we have built on it."

With four-regular season games left, the Warriors are in striking distance of the postseason.

After playing 5-1 Country Day on Friday, the Warriors end their season against 1-2 Highland Baptist, 2-3 Haynes Academy and 0-4 Ridgewood Academy.

"The postseason would be just a tremendous accomplishment for us, especially with the lack of experience we had with some of the guys," Battaglia said. "Being able to achieve that in just two years would be a huge plus and a huge accomplishment for the program."

Helping lead the way is senior running back Nate Frye, who is fourth in the area with 515 yards rushing.

"We have come really far," Frye said. "It is exciting to think about. Everyone is excited and enthusiastic at practice, and everyone is working hard. We have six seniors, and I think a lot of it has to do with senior leadership."

Those seniors are Frye, Dakota Durkes, Nick Callais, Deron Jasper, Keamon Sims and Gage Porche.

Durkes has taken over at quarterback after Daniel Achee' was injured earlier in season, and is expected to play the rest of the season at quarterback for Warriors. Achee' is still waiting to be cleared medically.

"Dakota has done an excellent job. He has shown excellent senior leadership in the huddle for us," Battaglia said. "He and Nate have really been excellent senior leaders. They do a great job of being leaders, and that is what you need, someone the guys can look to. They not only lead vocally, but lead by example. I am proud of the whole team."

Durkes said he was prepared to take over at quarterback after Achee' was injured.

"I felt like they prepared me enough through practices and by getting reps in that I felt comfortable," Durkes said. "They kept working with me, getting the plays down, so when I got in there it wasn't that big of a deal. It feels amazing to have our own football program up and running. We have our own stadium now, and we are competing. It's really awesome."

Frye said the coaches are also expecting more from the team this season and are holding the players more accountable.

"I think our coaches have a different mindset. They see we have a chance at winning. They are harder on us," Frye said. "That is a really good thing because everybody is enthusiastic."

Playing at their new home field behind Living Word Church on La. 311 has also added an extra boost to the program. With lights expected to be installed for next season, the Warriors have played games in the afternoon this season.

"Having our own stadium has definitely increased the excitement around the school," Battaglia said. "Having our fans come out to the stadium for the first time gave us a new sense of pride in what we have. It boosted not only the confidence of the players, but the student body in general."

The Warriors, who won two games last season, are averaging 31.2 points per contest this year, and Frye said he is thankful for all the success so early in the program's history.

"I am so thankful God has been able to bless us with the season we have had so far," Frye said. "We have worked so hard, and He has given us the ability to work hard and do what the coaches have asked us to do."