In Only A Few Seasons, The Lakeshore Titans Have Proven Themselves Among Class 4A’s Elite
by Jace LeJeune
Lakeshore High School is one of the newer schools in the state. In fact, the school has only been open for about ten years. However, over that ten year period, not only has the school grown, but the football program has grown to really big heights especially over the last two seasons under Head Coach Craig Jones. In his first four seasons, the young program has showed progress winning 20 games over that period. However, nobody could expect what this program would do in 2017. It turned out to be the best season in program history finishing with an undefeated 10-0 season and locking up the number two seed in the Class 4A playoffs. Still, a lot of people have not heard about the uprising program and did not take the team seriously. The Titans showed what they were made of facing one of the most dominant football programs in the state in Neville High School for the quarterfinals. Not only did the Titans defeat the historic program, but they dominated winning 55-24. That victory sure opened a lot of people’s eyes and the team continued winning the very next week against Rayne High School in order to advance to the Superdome for the Class 4A state championship. Although the Titans did not finish like they have hoped losing to Edna Karr High School in the championship game, that season has paved the way for a program that is on its way up. This season, the Titans have once again showed that 2017 was no fluke having another undefeated regular season and advancing to the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Lakeshore senior WR Jacob Bernard was a star on both those teams that combined for a record of 26-2 in that two year span. Bernard will be remembered as one of the key players to jump start the huge success of the program as well as doing a little bit of everything for the Titans. Over his career, he has had 150 catches for 2,912 yards and 36 touchdowns along with 854 yards and 22 more touchdowns rushing. Not to mention, he has been a big factor on special teams whether it is averaging 40 yards a punt as a punter or as a returner with four punt return and kick return touchdowns to his credit. Even though a star like Bernard deserves a lot of credit for the success of the team, he is quick to point out that it took a team effort in order to get where the program is at now.
“The last two years helped put a winning culture into Lakeshore,” Bernard said. “Everybody played as a team and not as individuals.”
Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting expert Lee Brecheen has always been very high on Bernard. Before the 2018 football season, Brecheen put Bernard on the cover of the South Louisiana preview magazine as well as on the 1st Team All-South Louisiana team. Brecheen has even grown more appreciative of not only his talent, but his willingness to do whatever is best for his team whatever means necessary.
“My thoughts on Jacob is that he had a really good senior season,” Brecheen said. “It might not be as statistically good as his junior season, but that was because he had to play some strong safety this season as well. Playing both sides wears you down a little bit, but he did a great thing for his team. Bernard already made his mark the year before. He is just an underrated big time athlete that just has the IT factor whether it is returning punts, kickoffs, catching the ball, or running the ball.”
His versatility and incredible athletic ability has attracted many football programs. Bernard has received offers from Southeastern Louisiana University, ULL, Tulane, Nicholls State, Army, South Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Air Force, Southern Miss, Princeton, Ball State, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, North Texas, Colorado State, Memphis, etc. As of right now, Bernard has yet to make his decision, but what he is sure of are the standards he is looking at when choosing a program.
“First, I look at the school itself,” Bernard said. “Then, I look at if I can come in, make a difference, and change the culture.’
Bernard is not the only Lakeshore senior that will be making a decision on where to play football at the next level. His teammate OG/DE Eric Kieper Jr. has received scholarship offers from Concordia University, McPherson College, Beloit College, Lawrence University, Oberlin College, Aurora University, Presentation College, Briar Cliff College, and Dordt College.
“On my visits, I am looking to see the overall attitude of the coaches and players that I meet,” Kieper said. “Do they have the drive, dedication, and unity that I am used to having at Lakeshore? Also, does the college have a quality education that will give me the edge to be a successful adult? The college I commit to will have both qualities that I mentioned.”
At 6-2, 250 pounds, Kieper made the 1st Team All-District his senior year after making honorable mention the season before. He is another two way player that Brecheen is impressed with on the field.
“I think DE Eric Keiper is a I-AA guy,” Brecheen said. “He is a tough kid that has great feet.”
Brecheen also believes that this record breaking senior class has some other members that have the potential of playing at the next level.
“Their center Greg Clark is a I-AA type player,” Brecheen said. “LB Mackie Bellott can play at the D-III level. DT Brian Feske can be a high D-II guy at 6-1, 285 pounds. Finally, Sam Guillory can play either center or defensive end at the I-AA level in my opinion.”
As you can see, this is a strong senior class full of tough, hard nosed football players that do not care if they play the entire game both ways. This young program was successful because of how hungry and motivated these players were to be the ones to put Lakeshore on the football map in the state of Louisiana.
“I feel that we were a very successful team that played hard and even though we didn’t make it to state, it wasn’t due to lack of effort, talent, or team play,” Kieper said. “I won’t ever forget our accomplishments or the “I am my brothers’ keeper” mentality of our team.”
Hey football fans. Like our recruiting interviews, stories, and other content on our website? Click on our website daily to view articles on recruits, coaches, and so much more at our website: http://lafootballmagazine.com/. Also, we have exciting news that for the second straight year, we will have our North and South LA issues and both are now out! Both issues will continue to cover all the Louisiana colleges as well as all the high schools in state, but there will be 16 pages that will focus on North Louisiana as well as South Louisiana. For more information, please check the following link to where you can find the magazine in a store near you. Also, below are the two covers as well as where you can order both magazines on our website.
North Cover: South Cover:
North Link: http://lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-north-edition/
South Link: http://lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-south-edition/