DeQUINCY, La. (KPLC) - 2018 was an exciting year for the DeQunicy Tigers after making their first quarterfinal appearance since 1995. Because of that success, there’s a different attitude in Tiger country.
“There’s a higher expectation, which is something that we build on every year. We learned a lot last year and that’s the exciting thing. One of the foundations that we really built last year was that when you come in every week and go to work. You really do get better every week," said DeQuincy coach Charlie Smith. "That’s just something we continue trying to build on and the kids have really bought into it.”
“I’m feeling good about this year,” admitted Tiger receiver Braylon Snell. "I think we’re going to come back really strong.”
Offensively is nothing but good news for the Tigers. They bring back 10 starters from a year ago and don’t plan on changing a thing. DeQuincy will still be a spread team with a mixture of RPO’s. Coach Smith is hoping the team has matured from a year ago, and quarterback Gunnar Gearen can lead them further this season. The junior came on in the middle of the season and led the Tigers with over 1,600 passing yards and 16 touchdowns.
“Gunnar is a very talented kid. He’s very calm. Gunnar was as good on third and fourth down last year as he was on normal down and distances," Smith said. "We’re excited about Gunnar.”
Cooper Hext is back for his senior season and will once again be one of Gearen's main weapons on the outside. Hext finished 2018 with ____ . But, the most unique aspect of this offense is that everyone always seems to be on the same page.
“We really try to feed off of each other. It’s just who’s hot right then and what are they giving us right now," Samith said. "That’s how we approach it.”
The defense is where Coach Smith says will take the biggest hit after losing four key starters to graduation, including Nick Kelly who led the team in tackles a season ago. DeQuincy does welcome back experience, including seven starters from 2018. This year, outside linebacker Ryder Boyer will be relied on for leadership. Expect this defense to be young, but not inexperienced.
“We’re still going to be a three-down front and bring the pressure. That’s what we do. We’re not bigger than anybody here," Smith admitted. "We’ve got to bite your ankles. That’s how we are going to play and that’s what we are going to do.”
The Tigers will send off eight seniors this year and because of last season, this class knows what winning feels like. These guys are ready to put more wins on their high school football resumes.
“I want to go undefeated in district," said Hext. "I want to win the district championship.”