Kenner Discovery ready to take on the challenge in a tough new neighborhood – Crescent City Sports

Kenner Discovery ready to take on the challenge in a tough new neighborhood – Crescent City Sports

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Now an established football program, Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy now enters its seventh year under the leadership of head coach PJ Sprunk.

Last season, the Swamp Owls had their first losing season with a 2-8 record. The injury bug hasn’t helped them, as they’ve lost a significant number of starters to injuries. Even with the losing season, Sprunk still maintains a solid 25-23 overall record.

After losing four of last season’s best players, including running back Joshua Alexander, receiver Lance Rumbelow, safety Cam Gardener and linebacker Spencer Newton, the Swamp Owls will look to develop their talented young athletes.

“You’re definitely going to have a whole new team,” Sprunk said. “It was our sixth year of college football and our first losing season. We suffered a lot of wear and tear and an unbearable number of injuries, but no excuses, we just didn’t get the job done.

If there is youth, there is also experience that Sprunk can count on.

“We have a great group of young talent coming in with about 18 starters returning from last year,” Sprunk said. “We’re definitely going to see a new team with a new offense, and I think people will be very excited about what we have.”

Summer is the time when most teams can get an idea of ​​how their season will go. Good attendance during the summer is the key to success during the season.

The Swamp Owls enjoyed 98 percent attendance this summer, demonstrating how much the players and coaches care about the program.

“This group is a hard-working group with a lot of player leadership,” Sprunk said. “Our Dr. John Ochsner feeder school is here now. We had 55 kids at the end of last year, and now we’re at about 78, most of them young kids who are going to be pushing for playing time, so we’re really excited about that.

The steady growth of Kenner Discovery has resulted in a significant increase in attendance and kids wanting to buy into what the coaches are teaching them.

The Swamp Owls have 17 returning players who started games a year ago.

Senior wide receiver Braylon Byrd (5-8, 160) will be a key contributor as a multi-sport star.

Junior Gemar Hodges (5-10, 170), who is also a multi-sport athlete, will play quarterback. Hodges started four games last season, totaling 286 yards with three rushing touchdowns while passing for 488 yards and five touchdowns.

“We return our quarterback,” Sprunk said. “Hodges is a dual threat, using his legs a lot, but he also works on his passing with 7-on-7 work. We have a very good receiving core. We’ve gone from an offensive style to a professional style and we have some solid receivers.

Joining Byrd at wide receiver are junior Brenden Hebert (5-8, 155), who has very good speed, and junior Antonio Castro (6-3, 181), a good basketball player.

Senior running back Gage Bentel (5-9, 190) returns to take carries, along with sophomore Christian Torres (5-9, 185).

Sophomore left tackle Dekarbry Warren (6-3, 280) will anchor the offensive line. He is joined by senior right tackle Melvin Linconna (6-2, 240), senior center Ethan Domangue (5-10, 260), junior guard Jorge Vazquez and sophomore Lucas Acevedo.

“Dekarbry Warren will be a Division 1 recruit,” Sprunk said. “He is already attracting some interest from Division 1 schools. Dekarbry has speed for a big man.

Defensively, the Swamp Owls are strong at the second level.

Senior Evin Danove (5-10, 188), a third-year starter, showed he was not only one of the strongest kids in the state, but perhaps one of the best athletes, highlighting the Kenner Discovery linebackers.

“We have very good leadership,” Sprunk said. “Danove had an excellent offseason. He is by far the strongest kid on our team, and he recently broke his own school deadlift record by around 525 pounds. He’s a 500 pound squat guy and a 330 bench guy with speed. He began to attract interest from the university.

Sprunk also praises others.

“We moved Ray Hernandez (5-10, 210 Sr.) from the offensive line to play linebacker,” Sprunk said. “He had a great spring. Defensive back Kenderick Powell (6-0, 178) was an all-district player the past two years and a varsity recruit. He’s having a great offseason. He can play anywhere deep.

Other defensive backs include senior safeties Chris Burse (5-11, 180), Jordan Andrus (5-11, 170) and Ajani Kennedy, as well as juniors Mehki Dunbar (5-9, 170) and Nathan Anderson, and eighths. grader Chase Nicholas (5-11, 175).

Up front, senior defensive ends Breydon Fehn (5-11, 220) and Ronald Alcindor return, along with senior defensive tackle Baron Von Antz (6-0, 240). Junior Adriel Alberto is the other starter.

Sebastian Dominguez will handle the kicking duties, while Hodges is the punter. Byrd will handle the kick returns.

Coherence builds programs.

“Every year we have a slogan or a hashtag,” Sprunk said. “This year, our hashtag is “built differently”. Some here weren’t even at Kenner Discovery when we started football, and they are truly part of something special that started from nothing. We won’t let last year define us. The players have a chip on their shoulder.

Playing with a busy schedule will help teams develop and learn where they are as a program and what needs to be done.

The schedule opens with Fisher before facing Jefferson Rise. The Swamp Owls will host Higgins before playing Patrick Taylor. Home games with Bonnabel, Northlake Christian and Ben Franklin follow.

“Patrick Taylor has become a mini rivalry for us,” Sprunk said. “We both started with junior varsity programs and have split the playoffs the last two years. The fifth week is important for us; it’s Kenner’s battle with Bonnabel, and it’s a great atmosphere.

District 9-4A play will prove to be very tough as the Swamp Owls play Archbishop Shaw and St. Charles Catholic before hosting Belle Chasse.

“We were put in a tough district this year with Shaw, St. Charles Catholic and Belle Chase,” Sprunk said. “We are delighted with it. Our children don’t hesitate. To be a state champion, you have to beat these state championship caliber teams.

Perhaps no one is more excited than Sprunk for the upcoming season, seeing all of his players grow and learn while giving them all the praise he can.

“We’re really excited about this group,” Sprunk said. “Hashtag constructed differently. »

Click here for a preview of the Louisiana high school football team.