HAUGHTON, La (KMSS/KTAL) – The Haughton Buccaneers are a glass half-full kinda program. Just ask their head coach, Jason Brotherton.

“Last year, we were 5-5, a 26 seed maybe, and we feel like we had a terrible year,” said Brotherton. “Well, we go on the road (in the playoffs) and play an eight seed, five hours away, and we lose by a point on a two point conversion to win the game. So I think a lot of it is perspective.”

It’s a new perspective for the Bucs, having finished outside the District 1-5A’s top three for the first time since the 2016 season. This fall, the team returns starting quarterback Colin Rains (who missed their playoff game against Chalmette with a broken collarbone) and believes they can climb back into contention in one of the state’s toughest districts.

“Colin has all the tools, but to me the biggest is leadership,” said Brotherton. “He’s the kid that the other kids believe in. And they believe that with him back there, its gonna work out, and he’s gonna make the plays, and he usually does.”

And those plays don’t just come through the air. Rains was the team’s leading rusher last fall, piling up over 400 yards on the ground while averaging over five yards per carry. While that dimension of Rains’ game will still be prevalent this fall, don’t expect Coach Brotherton to not hold his breath when his star player takes off.

“I am worried every time he gets hit,” Brotherton chuckled. “But you can’t take what makes a player great away from them.”

With his 6’2, 195 pound frame, Rains knows that most defenders he meets on the outside aren’t necessarily happy to see him scramble. “I like the physicality of it, I like to show teams how tough I am,” said Rains. “I like to show toughness. I’m just doing whatever it takes to win.”

The return of John Ecot should be a shot in the arm for the Haughton offense. The senior wide-receiver had one catch for a 72 yard touchdown in the season opener against Red River before suffering a season-ending injury.

On defense, interior linebacker Connor Blank will lead the charge. The senior had over 80 tackles in 2021, and believes with the emergence of key players in the Bucs secondary, their defense should return to top form.

“I think our defensive backs are gonna do very well this year,” said Blank. “Especially with the young players that we have. Amarion Lars is going to go off this year, and so is DJ Riser.”

Riser is a returning stand-out, but it’s Lars who could really help turn the tide of the Bucs’ defense, according to Coach Brotherton. “Amari was a guy we had playing wide-receiver and we just went to him with the idea to switch him to defensive back. He’s been very receptive,” said Brotherton. “He’s got good size, he’s long. I’ve loved what I’ve seen this summer. Excited to see him in a game.”

For Buccaneer fans, there’s only one place to be this fall.

“Between the pines,” said Rains. “We’re gonna have a good team this year, it’s a mix between young and older guys. It’s gonna be exciting.”

The Buccaneers begin their season at home against Red River on September 1.