The outcome of several state championship games at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/ Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Football Championships at the Mercedes Benz Superdome delivered some surprises, including one Don Gibson said he fully expected.
Amite’s 47-20 win over Welsh in the Class 2A state title game gave the Warriors their fifth state championship but the first since 2004.
“I figured that was how it would go,” Gibson said. “I’ve known their coach (Zephaniah Powell) a long time, and we’ve talked quite a bit this season, and I could tell from his determination and from what I heard about his players that this would be their year.
“He rebuilt the program and he’s taken it a long way,” he said. “It takes a great coach to do that.”
Would Gibson like the Warriors on the Pelican schedule as a regular season opponent? It’s possible, but it won’t happen immediately.
“As for facing them down the line, I believe “never say never,” so you don’t know what will happen,” Gibson said. “We already have our schedule in place, but it’s something we may consider in a couple of years.”
Amite finished state runner-up in 2014 after a loss to Livonia, a team the Pelicans will play this season. Livonia had reached the state title game and came up short against Union Parish when LHS was coached by David Brewerton.
Brewerton has since moved to Zachary, where he has added three Class 5A state titles to the school’s trophy case.
“He has built that program into something really special,” he said. “Right now, everything is in perfect order at that school, and they have some outstanding athletes, so that was another one that didn’t surprise me a bit.”
As for the Pelicans, Gibson wants his team to remember their two consecutive playoff trips and realize where a stronger run can take them.
“It takes time, but we saw a lot of improvement from our team over the course of the season and we’re really intent on taking this program to the next level,” he said. “We have a lot of experienced kids returning next season, and our players have a great work ethic, so we’re going the right direction.”