IOTA, La. (KPLC) - 2018 was the true rebirth of Iota as a Class 3A powerhouse. The Dogs completed an undefeated regular season, a district championship and a semifinal appearance for the first time in 16 years. This season, the Bulldogs are ready to take their success a step further.
“We made it to the semifinals last year and we know how hard it is to get there," admitted Iota offensive lineman Connor Braquet. "We’re ready to take on anything.”
“We come out here every day and bust our butts," Iota safety Andrew Ashby said. "We have a purpose now. we want to win a state championship, not just make a semifinal appearance.”
With a new season, will come new faces thanks to graduation. Four-year starting quarterback Tre Rambin may be the biggest loss on offense, however, the team is confident in sophomore Dawson Wallace. He’s making the move from wide receiver to fill Rambin’s shoes. Wallace was a starter last year, so coach Andrus is expecting him to already gel with this offense.
“We’ve had a familiar face back there for four years and any time you change something like that it takes time," Iota coach Josh Andrus said. "He’s an athletic guy. He got a big arm. He’s very smart. We’ve been blessed with guys behind the center who have been smart. I don’t think were going to miss a beat with that.”
Power back Luke Doucet returns after a dominating 2018 season that saw him top 2,300 yards and score 26 touchdowns. The tailback was the district’s offensive MVP and a first-team all-state selection. But while Doucet may lead the charge, he isn’t Iota’s only returning star.
“We got Luke returning of course. We got Tyrone Charlot at receiver and returner. Micah Renfro at tight end. Then you go to the offensive line and we’ve got (Connor) Braquet and (Seth) Shuff returning. We’ve got a good nucleus on the offensive side," Andrus said. "We have a lot of people to spread the ball to. I think that’s our biggest thing this year. We’re going to spread the ball out and keep everyone guessing, getting the ball to everybody.”
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Defensively, Iota welcomes back six starters from a year ago, including all four guys upfront. While there are holes to fill, experience in the trenches is key. The team will look to defensive tackle Dylan Montgomery to pave the way.
“He’s been starting for three years. He’s a guy that works hard off the field in the weight room and he also works on the field," said Andrus. "He’s our leader up front.”
Iota completed the turnaround from bottom to top in just a few short years, but there will be no rest for the Dogs until they end the season on top.
“Around here the community is always excited about football and sports. It’s probably a little bit more now with the success we’ve been having lately," Andrus said. "But I also know that with success comes people gunning for you. So, you’ve got to play a little bit harder, a little bit better so that when you’re getting everybody’s best you can take it and run with it.”