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March 30, 2019
The Nicholls State University football team has picked up where it left off after a memorable 2018 season, but its players are focused on the present, with spring practice now in progress.
The team commenced its first of 15 spring practices on March 20, ahead of its annual Spring Game set for April 13 at 10 a.m.
Led by head coach Tim Rebowe, the Colonels concluded their 2018 regular season with a 44-point shutout over rival Southeastern that secured the football program its first Southland Conference title since 2005. With the win, they picked up an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs where they defeated San Diego in a 49-30 victory at John L. Guidry Stadium, marking Nicholls’ first playoff win in over 30 years.
The team closed out its historic season on Dec. 1 in Cheney, Wash., where it fell 42-21 to No. 3 Eastern Washington in the second round of the playoffs.
With any historic season comes the pressure to repeat, but as it begins its 2019 campaign, the Nicholls football team has its sight set on “right now.”
“Coach Rebowe talks about ‘right now.’ That’s our slogan, which means that he wants us to really focus on right now and not really worry about the future or really worry about who we’re playing or where we’re playing. Just focus on right now and what can we get done to be more productive for the next day,” junior quarterback Chase Fourcade said.
After the Colonels fell to EWU, Fourcade said they knew they wanted to keep going and “even do more than we did last year.”
The 2019 season will be Fourcade’s last in red and gray, but the Metairie native carries his own historic success with him.
On a 16-yard completion to wide receiver Damion Jeanpiere, Jr., against EWU, Fourcade became Nicholls’ new all-time passing leader, surpassing quarterback Doug Hudson’s 32-year-old record of 7,670 yards.
He proved to be one of the SLC’s most accurate quarterbacks last season, with a completion percentage of 60.8%—the third-highest in the conference.
In addition, he showed an impressive run game, tacking on 659 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
Fourcade’s performance ultimately earned him SLC Player of the Year—the first in history for a Colonel.
As he approaches his senior season, Fourcade hopes to make his mark in another way.
“Whatever I can do to help these young guys out, whether that is [planning] early or just doing something with school or just helping out around the community, stuff like that’s really what I want to leave my mark as because, I mean, everybody knows about the football standpoint, but I want to just get out in the community,” Fourcade said.
The team’s offensive success in 2018 was propelled in part by an explosive run game that finished top-ranked in the SLC, totaling 3,208 yards and 32 touchdowns and posting an average 5.3 yards per carry.
For freshman running back Julien Gums, a New Orleans native, the opportunity to step into that offense has been a “dream come true.”
Gums totaled 544 yards and six touchdowns in eight appearances, including a season-high 152 yards in his debut against Lamar on Sept. 29.
At the team’s annual awards banquet following the season, he was named Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
“Sitting out for the first four games, you know, I got the experience to learn how to do my job. When it was my opportunity to get on the field, and when that time came, I did what I had to do to show the coaches and everybody else that I can run a ball as well as the other backs,” Gums said.
In preparation for his second season, Gums said he wants to keep that momentum going by remaining coachable.
For junior running back Jeremy Rounds, who is in the middle of battling his second ACL tear, preparation for the 2019 season is about getting his knee healed so he can be back with his teammates.
“Having two ACL tears is pretty unfortunate, so my main thing was keeping my mind in it, trying to stay with the team. Just do my part. Do what I can right now,” Rounds, a Gray native, said.
Rounds and Gums said their coaches have stressed the importance remaining coachable, always finishing and not being satisfied as their 2019 campaign begins.
“Basically, like, always finishing, doing, like, every drill, finishing at practice, finishing through every play that we go through. They always tell us to…run here, no walking. We’ve just got to keep competing against each other so we can be better when we come out on the field,” Gums said.
The Colonels are set to kick off their season against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., on Aug. 31, roughly a year after defeating the Wildcats’ Big 12 rival Kansas Jayhawks in an overtime victory in Lawrence, Kan.
With Aug. 31 quickly approaching, Gums, Rounds and Fourcade have a message for fans about the 2019 Nicholls football team.
“We’re gonna keep it going. We’re not gonna fall back. We’re gonna try to stay consistent with just bringing the fans in…hopefully go for another conference championship, and that’s what we’re working for right now…I don’t want to get too far ahead, but yeah, that’s just been our mindset,” Fourcade said.
“We’re going to be better, way better, next year,” Gums said.
“We’re coming, for sure,” Rounds said.
The team is set to hold the remainder of its practices on April 2, 3, 5, 9, 10 and 12 at 3 p.m. and on April 6 at 9 a.m.