by Nicholas Humble
December 28, 2009 – Seniors are the leaders of the football team and the ones who the younger players look to for guidance and leadership. Acadiana High School seniors Michael Tate, Ian Boudreaux, Josh Pillard, Cody Mandell, and Blair Broussard led their team on and off the field during their senior football season.
Michael Tate, Acadiana High School senior wide receiver, stands 6’0” and weighs 180 pounds. He is headed to play at Nicholls State. Tate has been playing football since he was in seventh grade, but it has not always been at wide receiver. “I played quarterback every year except for this past year,” Tate said.
Tate learned the game of football from his step-dad. “When I was younger, we used to play video games and used to watch the University of Miami,” Tate said. “I just fell in love when I was a little kid, and ever since then it’s just always been about football.”
Tate’s individual goal for this past season was to make All-District. “Do whatever I could to help the team and try to make All-State or All-District,” Tate said. “I got second team All-District.” His winning mentality would benefit any football team. “I am used to winning all the time, so I make sure we win,” Tate said.Tate’s greatest achievement was his trip to the Superdome during his sophomore year. “Going to the state championship my sophomore year,” Tate said. “Just going there and having fun with my teammates.”
His most memorable game came this year against Saint Thomas More. “This past year, we beat STM. I think it was 28-27, and my best friend Josh Pillard scored on the option play in the last seconds of the game,” Tate said. “We were all fired up because that’s our cross town rivals.”
Tate attributes his strength to his mother and looks up to her as his role model. “My mom is my mentor because it’s just me and her, and she is a really strong person,” Tate said. “I get all my strength from her.”
Tate is a compassionate and caring individual who goes out of his way to help others. “I am really caring, and I try to help other people out as much as I can,” Tate said. “I am a real team guy, and I show a lot of compassion.”
Tate was not the only leader on Acadiana High School’s football team. Ian Boudreaux was a leader on defense. “Ian was our defensive leader, and is probably one of the best athletes we have,” Tate said. “He’s real big and fast. He’s one of the best defensive players in my mind in the state, and he’s just a really nice guy.”
Ian Boudreaux, who stands 6’0” and weighs 190 pounds, plays linebacker for Acadiana. He had 15 sacks his senior season. One of Boudreaux’s goals for the 2009 season was to silence the negative talk about his football team. “I wanted to be a team leader, overcome all the criticism of how we weren’t supposed to be one of the top teams and basically just have fun and win,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux started out his football career playing flag football when he was 5 years old and has never looked back. “I love the speed of the game and knowing you have to work hard Monday through Thursday or Friday or Saturday until the game is there and being ready for somebody to feel the same way you feel,” Boudreaux said. “When you get on that field it’s just a natural high.”
Boudreaux believes he would not be where he is today without the support and guidance from his father. “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Boudreaux said. “He always tells me, ‘If you’re going to be a leader, you have to work hard.’ Being young, you do not pay any mind to it, but when you get older, you realize what he said.”
Boudreaux’s personality allows him to get along with anyone, and he likes to have fun; however, when it comes to football, he works hard and takes his job as a linebacker very seriously. “I am one of those people who is always willing to work hard to get better,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux has really enjoyed his time playing high school football and will never forget his state championship game in the Superdome during his sophomore season. “The greatest achievement I have ever had was going to the Superdome and just having a blast my three years of football,” Boudreaux said.
Another player who really enjoyed the experience of the state championship game is senior running back, Josh Pillard. Pillard stands 5’11” and weighs 185 pounds. He ran with brute strength as he accomplished his individual goals in 2009. “My goals were to rush for over 1,000 yards, have over 15 touchdowns, and make All-District,” Pillard said. “All of my goals were pretty much accomplished.”
Pillard really had a break-out year his senior season. “At the beginning of the year, he didn’t play as much as he wanted to. Then he just broke out and scored 19 touchdowns this year, and he is just a really good football player,” Tate said.
Pillard’s greatest achievement in football up to this point involves being a star player. “To be a star player on a high school football team,” Pilliard said. Pilliard’s most memorable game came in his first start of the 2009 season. “The first game of the season when I played against Northside; that was my first start,” Pillard said. “I had 109 yards and two touchdowns in that game.”
Pillard believes that his best quality is his personality. “My best quality is my personality because I am easy to get along with,” Pilliard said. He believes his best football qualities are varied. “Heart, dedication, speed, power, anything,” Pilliard said.
The other running back for Acadiana during the 2009 season was Blair Broussard. “Blair was a three year starter. He was the other running back,” Tate said. “It was like a two-headed tandem. Josh would be more of a power back, and then Blair could do the catching, and he was more of a speed back.”
Boudreaux said that Broussard was more of the peace person. “When an argument happened, he would be the one to keep everybody together,” Boudreaux said.
While every team has players who are leaders and players who keep the team together, there always needs to be a guy that can keep the team laughing and having fun, and for Acadiana, that player is Cody Mandell. “Cody was a clown, the one that would keep everybody laughing,” Boudreaux said. “He would kick the ball, and then make jokes all day while we practiced.”
Standing 6’4” and weighing 215 pounds, Mandell has been playing football since his freshman year. “Watching all these guys who can kick so far just kind of made me want to start doing that, and first day of practice they put me on JV, and it went from there,” Mandell said.