The final stop of the Gridiron Football Spring Tour brings me to Central High School in Central, Louisiana to check on the Wildcats for their spring game. Entering his first season as the Wildcats head coach, David Simoneaux takes over the reigns for Sid Edwards, who left as the program’s winningest coach with a 104-52 record as a head coach at Central with one semifinal appearance, two quarterfinal appearances, and six district championships.
Now, Simoneaux will hope to continue the Wildcats’ winning ways after coming in from Catholic High School where he led the Bears to a state championship in 2021. Simoneaux is excited to not only be repping the new colors, but to lead the program to even bigger heights.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I am excited about the atmosphere that has been built around this place and I am excited about all the support that I’ve gotten from the administration. I am super excited about the staff that we have built. They are first class human beings that put the kids first and are role models. We are excited about the amount of football knowledge and the intensity and passion that they bring to the game. The kids have responded to everything that we have brought to them. I am really excited about what we got going.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
Even though Simoneaux is in a new setting, he will have a familiar coaching staff around him including Zack Morris, who was his offensive coordinator previously at Catholic High School, and defensive coordinator Anthony Camp, who played and coached with Simoneaux at Parkview Baptist while also being at a couple of college stops at Louisiana Tech, ULM, and Nicholls State.
“It’s neat for me because there are a lot of guys that played for me that are on this staff. Unfortunately, I am pushing 40 so it is getting to a point where a lot of guys are in the profession, but I wear that with a badge of honor. It is such a small adjustment for guys that have played for you that know what your expectations are in terms of intensity, attention to detail, and the type of football that you want to play. New additions like Khalil Thomas, Kevin Henry, and obviously our coordinators in Coach Camp, who comes from Louisiana Tech, and Coach Morris are just top notch human beings and top notch football coaches. Obviously, they bring a lot to the table in terms of scheme and they way they love these kids, they will bring something very special.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
When it comes to the players, a team like Central must have good talent, especially playing in one of the state’s toughest districts that include the likes of Catholic High School, Zachary, Scotlandville, Woodlawn, and Liberty. After missing the playoffs with a 4-6 record, the Wildcats are hungry to turn that record around and make a deep run in the playoffs this season.
Starting with the defensive side of the football, Coach Camp will have the luxury of coaching a defensive end duo that has the talent to be one of the best in the Baton Rouge area in the combination of Dakavius Mays and Braelen George leading a talented front seven.
“I thought we had a strong spring from our defensive ends Dakavius Mays and Braelen George. Both of those guys will wreak havoc. We are excited about their intensity and desire to get after the other side of the football. Kadavius Mays has done a good job at linebacker for us, and really, our linebacking group has been strong all offseason. We are also excited about Steven Ranel at corner.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
A player that has done a little bit of everything for the Wildcats in many different roles is Damon Blocker, who continues to prove to be a versatile weapon as he can play both sides of the football whether it is at safety, running back, or wide receiver.
“Damon Blocker is a swiss army knife for us. He has played the boundary safety a lot this spring. I thought he gave us a spark today at running back. He is a load and is just a country tough kid that we are looking forward to building a lot of things around.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
Offensively, Jackson Firmin showed off his arm strength numerous times during the scrimmage and gave that side of the football a lot of explosive plays. Tyler Fortney is another guy that has played quarterback in the past and can play multiple positions like Blocker to keep defenses off balanced. It also helps that the offense has two of the best players at their positions in the area in three time All-District center Andrew Richard and two time All-District tight end Adyn Wilkinson, who recently received his first offer from Southeastern.
“At the quarterback spot, I thought we had a strong spring from Jackson Firmin. He really did a good job and I thought he made some nice throws today. The offensive line really progressed as the spring went on and was able to pick up a lot of things that Coach Camp dialed up. I thought they protected him well tonight too. Hats off to Tyler Fortney, who has played well on both sides of the football. I think he will be a great hand for us. I am not sure where he fits yet, but he is going to bring a lot to the table.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
Now that spring has ended, Simoneaux and the rest of the coaching staff is ready to get the most out of their guys in the summer in order to prepare for the upcoming fall.
“I think it was good just for us to come out of spring mostly healthy and to install our basic scheme and to just get the number of valuable reps that we have gotten. Now, it is going back and we will have close out meetings with everybody and give them a good evaluation of where they are at so we know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then, we have to get to work to get through the offseason process. For us, it is not about X’s and O’s, it is about mental and physical toughness. We got a long way to go in that regard. We got to do a lot better from a discipline standpoint too. We look forward to building those things in the months of June, July, and August. Hopefully, we will be ready to rock and roll come September.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
Based on the talent and the new coaching staff coming in, there is a lot of excitement amongst the Central High School community as a big crowd packed Wildcat Stadium for the spring game.
“I thought it was great support from the crowd. Excited to see the amount of support that we have. Excited for what we got going in the community. I really think it is a special moment of time for Central, Louisiana and think that we have a chance to do something special here.”Central High School Head Coach David Simoneaux
The David Simoneaux era at Central will officially begin on Friday, September 1st as the Wildcats will host a tough non-district opponent in the De La Salle Cavaliers.
Check out our photo gallery with all of the photos from the spring game below! Feel free to download the pictures, but make sure to give Gridiron Football credit for the photos!
Even though this will be my last pit stop on my Gridiron Football Spring Tour, do not worry as I will visit plenty of more schools in Louisiana once summer football begins. In the meantime, read all of our Gridiron Football Spring Tour pit stops below for your football fix!