GF Media Day 2023 Preview: Livonia High School (Livonia, LA)

Head football coach Josh Laborde and the Livonia High School Wildcats are looking to come out strong this coming season. This will be Laborde’s fourth season as the head coach of the Wildcats, and he feels as if he is just getting started. Livonia has produced some incredible talent over the years, including former LSU and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. There is a lot of potential on this football team, so Coach Laborde is looking to impact these players and the community in a large way. With the cooperation of the players and the community, there are big things to come in the future for Livonia High.

He has been around football his entire life but has spent the last 20-plus seasons as a coach. This coming season will be his 21st as a coach, and he feels that he still has so much left to do. Serving as both the athletic director and head football coach for the Wildcats, he has lots of knowledge to give and has picked up many things over the years along his journey.

“This will be my 21st year. I started as a sophomore in college during the CCP program where I got paid with a t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes, and I was happy to have it, but I was grateful for it because I got to learn so much. Then as soon as I graduated college, I was hired to spend, including the CCP years, 12 years at Port Allen. I got to coach a lot of different things there as a special teams coordinator, and I moved up to an offensive coordinator where I got to learn a lot as well. Then from there I went to West Feliciana for five years where I got to be a defensive coordinator. We had a lot of success. Again, I was constantly learning because I was on board with some great people and spent five years there. Now, this will be my fourth season at Livonia as the head coach.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

Livonia football is in his family’s blood as his wife and grandfather are both Livonia alumni. He was very excited for this opportunity to come here and give back to the community. He credits his wife for aiding him back to Livonia and made taking the job just a bit easier. He also talks about how closely-knit the community really is and how impactful it can be for his football program.

“It’s the community. I love the good hometown spirit and the people there love their school. Full of good kids, good hearted people. It’s that good country lifestyle where are things little easier going and nothing’s really too hectic. I moved into Livonia, and it’s been a really great time. My wife’s from Livonia so that kind of helped out, but it’s one big family and the community really does act as it is a family.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

Coach Laborde talks about the impact Patrick Queen has had not only on the Livonia football team but the community as well. They will be doing many different things to honor Patrick and the things he has done there. They will be retiring his number “8” and also choosing someone each year to wear the number in honor of him. Junior linebacker Mario Acevedo, will be the inaugural “Elite 8” player, which is a Wildcat chosen to be graced with the honor of wearing it each year. He also brought Christopher Leonard along on the trip as well.

“This coming season, after we got it approved through all the systems, we will be retiring Patrick’s jersey, and I’m not sure if y’all noticed, but Mario will be the inaugural ‘Elite 8’ guy for our program. Each year, when you see someone wearing number 8 at Livonia, that player emphasizes the things that Patrick brought to us on and off the field. By doing great in school and having that special work ethic, the players will get the chance to be that.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

The first few years at Livonia for Coach Laborde could have been better, but he acknowledges it and realizes what he needs to do now to fix their previous mistakes. He describes his system and the way he plans to win ball games this fall:

“We are trying to be more and more physical. We are trying to get our kids into a belief system of being physical and being able to run and throw the ball at our own luxury. It’s been a process of growing, and I believe that this year we’re going to finally be able to accomplish those things. It’s taking some time, but I believe now, being in year four, we’ll be able to do a little bit of everything. Our big thing is we are able to be very multiple with formations like we will give a team something where you’ll see us one week and see something completely different the next. but the kids can still play within a system that’s simple to them.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

He talked very highly of the district that they compete in. He mentions how much success that the teams they compete against have. They play against some very tough competition, but Laborde doesn’t let it stray him away from his goals.

“Our district is very underrated. We haven’t had a state champion or such in a while, like you get out of the Lafayette Christians or U-High, such as that, but it’s extremely competitive. We’re a five-team district, and the team that finished fourth last year went to the quarterfinals. That’ll tell you that we can be very competitive. There are a lot of really good coaches. I can’t say anything negative on any of the coaches in our district. Everybody’s doing a phenomenal job where they’re at. and it is very good competition that is fun every week. Everybody brings a different challenge and everybody bringing something a little different. We’re better than even people have seen. Yes, we haven’t been in a dome maybe in a while, but there are teams that can beat anybody at anytime.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

Coach Laborde credits the relationship he has built with his players as to why he enjoys his job so much. He does everything he can do to help them succeed. He is very involved in their lives because he wants to see them do the best they can in anything they might be doing. He just wants to build relationships with these kids, which is awesome.

“Get to know your kids. If you’re not in it for them, then it doesn’t matter. We can sit on a dry erase board and talk schematics and talk different offenses and different defenses all day long and really no one’s wrong. It’s the last guy with a pen. I think it’s getting to know our kids and getting them to perform to the best of their ability and letting them leave with something because this is their four years. This is their time in high school so let it be special for them. Like I said, I’ve been coaching for 20 years, longer than all my kids have been alive. They only get this four-year period, so let’s be special for them and worry about what’s going on in their lives and make it memorable for each one of them.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde

He sees the future for Livonia as one that is full of success. He is aiming to make the Livonia High School Wildcats a relevant football team around the state of Louisiana and especially their district.

“I think we are starting to come back. I get that we’ve had some some turmoils. We’ve hit some hard times because we had hit the pinnacle when Coach Brew was at the end of his tenure here before he went to Zachary and made some dome runs. It kind of went down and COVID didn’t make it any better like I know with a lot of people. Now, I think we’re starting to come back and we’re starting to become relevant once again.”

Livonia Head Coach Josh Laborde