School Spotlight: Holy Savior Menard

Holy Savior Menard High School is located in Alexandria, Louisiana and plays at the Class 2A level. The Eagles are coming off a disappointing 1-9 season, but the program has a chance to soar to new heights in year number three for former Louisiana College Head Coach Justin Charles. I got the chance to catch up with Coach Charles and get an update on how his team is looking over the summer.

“This summer has been the best summer since I’ve been here going into my third season. Our attendance has been so high. Our participation has been great and we are starting to find some leaders. We still have some ways to go, but I am very proud of the way our kids have worked this summer.”

What Coach Charles likes most about this year’s squad is that everybody knows their role as this team has a good mix of both experience and leadership. Although there are only eight seniors on the roster, 16 underclassmen started on last year’s team. Because of all the experience coming back, Coach is confident that 2022 can be the year that everybody can sync together.

“We wear a shirt that says [Be The Standard]. We want to set the standard and raise the standard everyday. We want every other team to be where we want to be. We want to be the standard in everything that we do and not just on the football field.”

Coach Charles has been impressed with how much the players have believed in each other and trusted each other during this process. That alone could go a long way in determining a lot of football games this fall. In terms of goals for the upcoming season, the coaching staff is just trying to limit to short term goals focusing on the task right ahead of them. So far, the team has accomplished its goals during the spring and in the summer. Now, it is time for the Eagles to focus on what is ahead of them, which is the 2022 season.

“As far as this year’s win total, I do see us with a winning record this year.”

Winning games will not be easy as the Eagles will have to face the likes of the Avoyelles Mustangs, which was a minute away from reaching the Class 2A State Championship last season, and the Rosepine Eagles, which was a team that made the Quarterfinals for the first time in school history. The team also has their hands full in non-district as well playing teams such as St. Frederick, Pineville, and Sacred Heart to name a few. However, the Menard Eagles have a brand of football that could help them achieve that winning season.

“The defense is going to be very exciting to watch. Our defense plays so fast and that is the side of the football that everybody is going to watch out for. On the offensive side of the football, we are going to be a team that runs the football. We are going to run some power, some counter, and some iso. Everybody knows what we are going to run, but being more experienced on that side of the football, we will execute a lot more.”

The Eagles certainly want to win games the old fashioned way this season, which is by running the football and playing sound defense. Then, also add an experienced coaching staff, the pieces are starting to come together to execute that plan.

“We just brought Mark Teague over who was the head coach at Bolton High School last year and is my co-offensive coordinator. Coach Teague is with us and is doing an incredible job. He will be calling plays with Corey Holmes, who has been my offensive line coach the past two seasons. He is a great young mind that is a strong and knowledgable football coach that I coached at Louisiana College. Thomas Scully is my defensive coordinator and is the hardest working coach that I know. Also, my best friend is on the staff in Clay Matchett and he has been coaching with me for 10 years. I couldn’t do it without those guys.”

Coach Charles also admits that he could not do it without the administration and everybody else that supports Holy Savior Menard Eagles football.

“The administration does an excellent job. They understand that I am coming from college and it also helps that the former head coach is the principal. Mr. Gatlin has done such an awesome job. Anything that we ask for, he has tried his best in order to help us get it. If you have support from your administration, that just makes everything easier. As far as the fans, we have a tremendous support staff from parents, fans, and boosters. I just want to tell them to continue what they are doing and they will see how much we are growing this program. Go Eagles!”

In order for the Eagles to have the breakout season they want to have, Coach Charles is looking for big things from these players:

LB David Roberts is a Class of 2023 prospect. Coach Charles says, “David is one of those kids that you see and immediately think that he is a Division I player. He is 6’3, 225 pounds and is a low 4.7/40 guy, but he is a type of kid that doesn’t really say much, but he does everything right. He has a 3.8 GPA and is a part of one of our Christian leadership teams on campus. He shows up everyday, gives everything he has, and when he says something, everybody listens. When you talk about David, he is one of those kids that lead by example. He never lets his teammates down and he holds himself accountable for his actions. He is one of my favorite kids on the team.”

WR Gavin Hilton is a Class of 2024 prospect. Coach Charles says, “Gavin is a slot receiver for us. He is not a big kid as he is only 5’9, 160 pounds even with all his pads on, but he can absolutely go. We will definitely put the ball in his hands whether he is at slot receiver or at running back. He even plays a little bit of cornerback for us. He can do it all as he is a scrappy kid and is fun to watch too.”

RB Rubin Seastrunk is a Class of 2023 prospect. Coach Charles says, “Rubin is a heck of a football player and comes from a strong pedigree. Eddie Fuller, who played with the LSU Tigers and the Buffalo Bills, is his uncle and his dad played at Grambling. He is just a kid that is really hungry and stays after practice to get some extra work in. He will be a guy that could rush for more yards than anybody that I had the last three years.”

LB Cooper Scott is a Class of 2024 prospect. Coach Charles says, “In all of reality, Cooper is my best football player. He is a big kid as he is at least 6’2 1/2, probably at 210 pounds. He is a really friendly kid, but when he is on the football field, he is plays with a mean streak. He has been starting since he was a freshman so he is going into his third year as a starter.”

“A lot of people have been asking me about my quarterback situation. We have a kid by the name of Michael Henry that started 11 games for us last season including the first round of the playoffs. He has done a good job over the summer and is starting to learn the offense. He is in a battle with a kid that is about to be a freshman and his name is Jake Vaughan. Jake understands leadership and the offense just like Michael does. He is a real scrappy kid and a lefty. When you talk about football players, it is hard not to put your best football player out there and he is one of those guys. Both those guys have been battling it out all summer through 7 on 7 camps, tournaments, and leagues we’ve been playing in. You see our team getting better because of the competition. Seeing that battle take place will be the most fun to watch at the beginning of the season.”