Hammer and Meat Lead The St. John Eagles To A Breakout Season While Breaking Offensive Records In The Process
by Jace LeJeune
At St. John High School in Plaquemine, everyone got to know one of the best quarterback-wide receiver connections in the state this past season in QB Adam Blanchard and WR Justin Rivet. Last season, the QB-WR duo connected on over 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns while Blanchard accounted for over 2,500 yards and 27 total touchdowns himself. However, breaking passing records and putting up crazy statistics did not come overnight. The elite chemistry between the two players all started a long time ago.
“It is nice to have a receiver like Justin knowing that I can trust him on and off the field,” Blanchard said. “He has been one of my best friends since I was little and just having him as one of my receivers every game knowing that he is going to come down with anything I throw close to him is a great feeling. He makes me feel more confident about myself during the game.”
“Off the field, we have been friends as long as I can remember,” Rivet said. “We went to school together since Pre-K. We grew up playing together in the backyard and that carried over to the field in sports. We were always on the same page, and we both can rely on each other on the field.”
Blanchard and Rivet are so close that they actually call each other by their nicknames.
“Justin’s nickname is Meat,” Blanchard said. “My nickname is Hammer.”
Even though the Eagles came into the 2018 season with a new head coach after going winless in 2016 and 2017, there was a lot of confidence that good things would be in the horizon come at the beginning of the fall. It was even more intriguing that the Eagles’ two star players had to adjust to a totally different offense after running the triple option the previous years. Still, the Eagles accomplished the impossible and broke through winning three games in one of the toughest districts in 1A.
“I am glad we got Coach Eric Holden,” Blanchard said. “He is a good coach and he has taught us a good offensive system. He really did a good job with it all. I hope he stays a while and helps St. John to win a state championship.”
Coach Holden will have a lot of work to do next season as he will have to replace his two best players. Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting specialist Lee Brecheen really likes both Blanchard and Rivet’s ability to translate to the next level.
“Both Adam Blanchard and Justin Rivet will be super missed by the St. John program,” Brecheen said. “They are both talented athletes that are about 5-9, 175 pounds and both have 4.5/40 speed. I know that Adam played quarterback for his team, but I also think that he can be a great slot receiver like Justin at the next level. Both players have really done it all for their team.”
There is no understatement about that. Blanchard has really done it all as an athlete. For the 5-9, 175 pound athlete, there is no such thing as an off-season as he competes in basketball and baseball as well. Blanchard’s athletic ability has intrigued some schools as he went on some visits to Belhaven University and Louisiana College. After taking his visits, Blanchard has decided where he wants to go to continue his athletic pursuits.
“I am going to Belhaven University to play football,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard will attend Belhaven University where he feels that his skills can help the Blazer just like he has helped his Eagles.
“I think my biggest strengths as a quarterback are being able to throw the short to intermediate game and being able to extend plays with my feet,” Blanchard said. “I am not the fastest, but I cam extend some plays when I need to.”
For Rivet, he has pretty much done it all on the football field. This past season, Rivet made the transition with ease after starting his high school career as a running back. Not only has Rivet played running back and receiver, but he was also one of the leading tackers on the team as well. The stats back it up as Rivet ran the ball 272 times for 1,420 yards and seven touchdowns as a running back. As a receiver, Rivet had 87 catches for 1,377 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging just over 15 yards per catch. As a defensive back, Rivet had over 200 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight sacks, five pass breakups, four interceptions, two caused fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Then, there was the impact he made on special teams. As both a kick returner and a punt returner, he had 23 returns for a combined 472 yards and a kick return for a touchdown. Rivet’s versatility at only 5-9, 180 pounds drew the respect of his peers being awarded a two time team MVP, a two time All-District selection, 1st Team All-State selection, and most importantly, being recognized as a Warrick Dunn Player of the Year Award finalist.
As of now, Rivet is considering where he wants to play football as he received preferred walk-on offers from McNeese State and Northwestern State. Just like his teammate, Louisiana College and Belhaven have also shown interest in Rivet. There could maybe a future reunion on the gridiron between the two, but for now, Rivet is focusing on whichever school is giving him an opportunity.
“I plan on accepting one of my preferred walk-on offers and going to continue my football career,” Rivet said.
Both Blanchard and Rivet are both focusing on their athletic careers in the future, but for now, they are enjoying their final moments together playing athletics at St. John as both are playing baseball right now in their senior seasons.
“I am going to miss the relationships I had with my teammates and friends as well as being able to never come off the field,” Rivet said.
“I am going to miss being on the field with the people that I grew up with and have been around my whole life,” Blanchard said. “I am going to miss that family.”
Miss is an understatement when it comes to what these two mean to St. John and what St. John means to the both of them as well. Through the ups and the downs, one thing is for sure and that it was a fun ride for the two that are called “Hammer” and “Meat”.
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