Why would a football coach used to winning take an assistant coaching job at Franklin Parish, which has gone 11-32 the last four years?
"I'm one of those who likes to build a house, not buy one," said newly-hired Patriot offensive coordinator Adrian Burnette.
Burnette coached the likes of Rueben Randle and Randall Mackey at Bastrop, was offensive coordinator at Carroll when the Bulldogs ended a long-time losing streak to Neville, was leading the offense at St. Augustine with Leonard Fournette and Stacy Morgan and coached with Dean Smith at Wossman High the past two seasons.
Burnette was one of two finalists for the Wossman head coaching job after Dean Smith was released in January.
The job went to Maurice Pollard.
"I was disappointed not to get the job, but any time you get passed over it's disappointing, which happened to me at Bastrop, also," Burnette said.
First-year Franklin Parish head football coach Sonny Nason said he just recently found out Adrian applied for the Franklin Parish head coaching job.
"I plan on running the spread offense and usually like to be offensive coordinator," Nason said. "But I am going to be so far behind when we finally are able to get back together that I reached out to Adrian. He was one of two finalists for the Wossman job. When the other guy got it I knew there was probably no way he would stay there. I called him and asked him what would he think about coming to work here. I told him he could have total control of the offense."
Nason said the advantage of bringing Burnette in now is that Nason has not been able to implement any kind of offense yet.
"I told him to come in with his offense and I would learn from him and the kids would learn from him," Nason said. "He came down one of the five days I was here and we talked for five or six hours. He thought about it and called me that night and said he would like to coach here."
Nason said the coaching staff is meeting Tuesday.
"We need a starting point," Nason said. "We will be going over offense and defense so we will be ready to go when the kids roll in here on June 8."
Burnette said rebuilding Franklin Parish is going to be a mental thing as well as physical.
"We have to get these guys believing in themselves," Burnette said. "And it's tougher now with everything being pushed back. We're trying to rebuild with a smaller window of time. But the kids still have to work."
Burnette said he will have to see his players on the field before committing to a certain offense.
"Everything will be predicated by our personnel," he said. "I was fortunate to have a coaching relationship with Coach Nason. One of the things I have going for me is that I have coached kids who have played in this same type of district before. We want to toughen our kids up and help them to understand the vision Coach Nason has here at Franklin Parish."
Delta Charter senior Skylar Hawley left a message for the Lady Storm softball player who will be the next one wearing No. 24.
“Play your heart out every game,” Hawley wrote on her Facebook page. “Always give 110 percent because you never know when your last time to step on the field is. Always believe that you can do it. Love the sport with all your heart and never take a second for granted. Want every ball that is hit to come your way. Take chances lay out for that ball or make that play people think can’t happen. Play as a team never just for yourself. love this sport with all your heart! you will make mistakes, don’t let that break you. You got this, everyone makes mistakes! Always encourage others, never discourage them! Be a leader! Being a leader doesn’t mean be demanding but encourage them and teach them. Most importantly when playing your teammates are your sisters, love them and know that no matter what they will always have your back.”
Needless to say, the next No. 24 will have some big shoes to fill.
Hawley, who received the DCS Softball Hustle Award as a junior last year, was hitting .390 with a home run when the season shut down on March 15. The Lady Storm were 6-6 on the season, including a 15-5 win over Block which knocked Delta Charter out of the playoffs in the second round last year.
“It hurts to know that we will not be able to play on our field one last time or hear our names called on Senior Night,” Hawley said. “It has been one heck of a ride and even though our time was cut short, I wouldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play with.”
Delta Charter softball coach Jeannie Beach, who played catcher at Delta State, said Hawley was the best catcher she had blocking up the ball in a long time.
“Skylar had a great work ethic and she was so coachable and dependable,” Beach said. “She is an outstanding player and person. And she was a great leader. She loves the game.”
Delta Charter’s girls were ranked No. 8 in Class A.
“We were just getting started and I felt we had the potential to go a long way, but it was all taken away in one day,” Hawley said. “At first I was hoping we would at least be able to finish our season, It was hard to take.”
Hawley said losing to Block in the second round served as motivation this year.
“We were not going to take anybody for granted,” Hawley said. “Every team can improve during the season. We learned a valuable lesson. But we weren’t able to make use of it this year.”
Hawley said she was always excited to go to the ballpark.
“I’ve always wanted to play ball to my best potential,” Hawley said. “If you give it your best every time a good outcome will happen.”
Hawley tried soccer at one time, but nothing could compare with playing softball.
“That’s my happy place,” she said. “It’s easily my favorite sport.”
Hawley is attending Baton Rouge Community College and will be a preferred walk on with the softball team.
And her goal is to continue catching, a position she started playing at the age of 10.
“I love being in on every pitch and being able to see the whole field,” she said. “I look at it as a leadership role.”
She plans on majoring in Kineisology and become an athletic trainer.
And Hawley has some advice for future players.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “You never know when it will be the last time. The last two senior classes got to finish out and they taught me so much. I hate I didn’t get to continue helping the younger ones.”