The next stop on the Gridiron Football Spring Tour, I stopped by to visit with one of the hungriest teams in Louisiana heading into the 2023 season, and that is the U-High Cubs. The Cubs have been one of the state’s biggest powerhouses winning six state championships in 1974, 1988, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2021. Seeking a second consecutive state championship under head coach Andy Martin, the Cubs fell just short of their goal last season losing in thrilling fashion to the eventual Division III (Select) runner-up Dunham Tigers by a final score of 35-28.
“I think for last year, we were such a young team. A lot of these guys are a little bit more mature this year. You are starting to see them physically get better and I think that they are a little hungry. They felt that we had a chance to get there and we got outplayed. They want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and they have been working hard in trying to get that done.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
Now, approaching the upcoming season, the Cubs are more motivated than before to get back to play in the state championship game and it showed in their spring intrasquad scrimmage with a lot of great competition on both sides of the football in front of fans and family.
“I think it was a good job from both sides. We had some good hitting going on. We executed really well offensively and defensively 1s, 2s, and 3s. Obviously, there is a lot of work that we still have to do, but it’s fun to see more of a vanilla deal to see where we are.”
“Our guys were competing to see where they are 11 on 11 and that’s what we try to tell them all the time because you are either competing to be a starter or a JV starter or competing for more playing time. I felt guys were getting to the football and were giving good effort. That’s the biggest thing that we wanted to see, which is the effort level on guys and just trying to be efficient in what we are trying to do.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
It was a pretty sharp spring game in terms of execution and energy as that goes back to what the Cubs have done behind the scenes during their 10-day window for spring practice.
“I thought it was great. Our guys were hungry and excited to get out there. We don’t do much football before we get to spring. I want our guys to be hungry for it and I thought they were. They did a great job of coming out here and executing using all 10 days just trying to get better. We finished the spring pretty much injury free and got better.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
Although the Cubs lose two-way star Jaiden Ausberry to Notre Dame, there is plenty of college talent that will be displayed for the U-High Cubs, especially on the defensive side of the football.
Obviously, the big name is Keylan Moses, who just so happens to be former U-High and Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses’ younger brother. Moses may even have a higher upside than his brother as at 6’3, 215 pounds, the 1st Team All-State selection has received close to 20 DI offers as a four-star recruit.
Also, leading the way at linebacker is tackling machine Harry Beacham. The 1st Team All-State linebacker has racked up 278 tackles the last two seasons and incredibly also has a 4.6 GPA along with a 30 ACT. The veteran linebacker also has received offers from Georgetown, Air Force, Dartmouth, Harvard, Arkansas State, Marshall, Cornell, Louisiana Tech, Nicholls State, and Grambling.
Safety Marcus Dawson has also gained a lot of traction in recruiting over the offseason as the 6’3, 190-pound 1st Team All-State selection has picked up offers from Arkansas State, Marshall, Grambling, ULM, Nicholls State, Southeastern, and Texas State.
“It all starts with Harry Beacham being the leader of our defense. He is a three-year starter for us and makes all the calls up there. Along with him is Marcus Dawson, who is our safety. Those two guys in the middle of the field help us get lined up and make a lot of plays for us.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
While those are the two leaders on the defensive side of the football, on the offensive side of the football, that unit leans on two veteran playmaking receivers for leadership and for big plays in All-State wide receiver Seth Gale and 1st Team All-District selection Granville Anderson.
“On the offensive side of the football, we have Granville Anderson, who set our single season record for receptions at U-High and again is an outstanding route runner for us, and then, Seth Gale is a guy that can score a touchdown anytime he touches the football. He does punt returns, kick returns, and is our receiver.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
Those four senior leaders have all been great players and leaders throughout their prep careers at U-High as all four players have been invited to play in the 2023 Gridiron Football All-American Bowl Game.
“All four of these guys are not only great guys on the field, but off the field. They are a great example for the rest of our players and do an excellent job of leading.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
Following their lead is a talented roster in general. A big key to the Cubs’ success of winning a state championship two seasons ago was their running game and big offensive line. Coach Martin would like to repeat that formula for the 2023 season.
“Our offensive line was just so young last year and all five of those guys are going to be so much better. There is Jarvis Brookshire, Lamar Brown, who is only going to be a sophomore, Preston Jones, who has gotten so much better out there, John Hebert, who continues to get better, and then, there is Tucker Latour, who has started a lot for us. All five of those guys have done an outstanding job in spring and they are starting to gel. They are going to be a great unit.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
On the defensive side of the football, there is one more linebacker that is going to set up arguably the top linebacking trio in the state along with Moses and Beacham. The third guy is Alec Haynes, who as a sophomore, had 84 tackles, 20 TFLs, 13 sacks, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown. The 6’3, 210 pound linebacker will also join Moses in the offensive backfield and will get some carries to help the offense. He is just one of many other players that will help on that side of the football.
“When you look on the defensive side of the football, Alec Haynes moving from defensive line to linebacker is one that really stands out. He is a guy that is going to take the next step next year and show that he can play football.”
“Patrick Beacham is another guy that we are going to rely on. He will play strong safety as he has moved from his cornerback spot. He has gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and can’t wait to see the production that he is going to give us.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
The Cubs obviously have the talent to compete for a district and a state championship this year. The key for Coach Martin and his squad is to continue to set the mentality and embrace on getting better every single day.
“Bigger, faster, stronger. That’s what we are all about over the summer. We want to continue to try and get their bodies in shape and getting them outside so they are ready to go when August gets here. We want to make sure that we are in peak performance when August comes.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
Check out the photos from U-High’s spring game below!
Check out the rest of our Gridiron Football Spring Tour articles below!