November 29, 2007

East St. John features bruising '09 duo

RESERVE, La. -- Larry Dauterive has seen his fair share of talent in his 35-plus years of coaching and he has seen it on every level. The head coach at Reserve (La.) East St. John coached up Doug Flutie during a stint in the CFL and he had a hand in high-powered offenses at Louisiana Tech.

On the high school level he is no stranger to talent either. In 2004 his quarterback was one of the most highly touted players in the nation. Rated as a five-star by Rivals.com and the top rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation, Ryan Perriloux left East St. John for LSU where he will likely take over as the starting quarterback next season.

Dauterive is now ready to add two more great ones to the list of players he's coached. Juniors Alex Singleton and Patrick Lewis form the backbone of a team that responded from a 1-3 start to make the playoffs while facing perhaps the toughest schedule in the state of Louisiana.

"They're as good as anybody I've ever coached at their respective positions," Dauterive said of Singleton and Lewis. "They're just as good as anybody I've seen."

The positions in question have not exactly been set in stone.

Singleton played fullback as a sophomore and only picked up one carry on the year. As a junior, the 6-2 220-pounder began the season as a linebacker but after struggling out to a 1-3 start, his coach quickly found a spot for him on the offensive side of the ball at running back.

"I was happy playing linebacker," Singleton said. "I got to hit people which I like. But I did what was best for the team and I like playing running back too. I knew it would be hard to play both ways."

After making the switch over to offense fulltime in the fifth game of the season, Singleton rushed for over 1,500 yards in Louisiana's 5A classification and 15 touchdowns. He even had some spot duty at quarterback adding two touchdown passes to his total.

Lewis is a 6-foot-1 305-pound mauler in the trenches. He has played all over the offensive line for the Wildcats and sees time on the defensive line in crucial situations.

"We move him all around," Dauterive said. "There's no secret where we're running the ball. We're going right behind Patrick."

However, the turning point in the 2007 season for East St. John may have been a game in which Lewis lined up in the backfield.

After starting out the season 1-2 and heading into a game with Bastrop High School, a program that goes seasons rather than games without a loss, Coach Dauterive made a move. He lined Lewis up at fullback in front of Singleton at tailback and took a lead into halftime and nearly pulled off an upset.

The following game, Singleton took over the full workload at running back and promptly rushed for 305 yards, setting the tone for a 5-1 close to the regular season.

Between Lewis' nasty attitude in the trenches and Singleton's bruising running style with the ball, it is no wonder that the two have had such success. It is also no wonder that they are tight off the field.

"We're like brothers," Lewis said of their relationship. "We go everywhere together. We go to LSU games together. We go to Saints games together."

The two also love playing football together and it shows. Both Singleton and Lewis seem to take more pleasure in talking about the other's on-field exploits than those of themselves.

"He's like a train," Singleton said of Lewis. "Everywhere he runs, he just hits a man and they're gone."

Lewis is quick to return the favor.

"Blocking for him you know once you get that block you know he'll get the extra yards," Lewis said. "On one play against Carencro it was 3rd and 1 and I was on an assignment and I saw he was surrounded by about nine guys then all of the sudden he just broke out of nowhere and ran for a touchdown."

The film backs up Lewis' story and the film also backs up Lewis' nickname. His coach refers to him affectionately as 'IHOP' because of all of the pancakes that he dishes out. While he may be slightly undersized at 6-foot-1, Lewis is a tremendous finisher of blocks and will make a great interior offensive lineman on the next level. Even as a sophomore, Lewis stood out, earning all-state honors in the competitive 5A division. Entering his senior season, he will be chasing a third consecutive all-state selection.

Neither Lewis nor Singleton has picked up any offers today but college recruiters will not take long to find the pair. The two have already put some thought into the schools they will be waiting on.

"LSU for sure," Lewis said. "I've also been thinking about the University of Houston. I've been learning more about them. Probably those two or somewhere in the SEC."

While Singleton would enjoy the opportunity to play at his home state school of LSU, Arkansas and Michigan are at the top of his list of favorites.

"Michigan has always been my team," Singleton said. "I started watching them when I was young. I don't know why I've always liked them but I started liking them and I would definitely like to play there."

"Arkansas because I want to play LSU," he explained. "I want to go against the best. I want to beat the best."

In Larry Dauterive's first four years at East St. John, his teams put up 48 points per game. This past season, the Wildcats only averaged 26 points per outing. With Lewis anchoring the front line and Singleton manning the backfield, Dauterive feels like he has all the pieces he needs to light the scoreboards back up.

Just tell Singleton and Lewis where to line up.


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