Inductees honored in time for milestone game
GONZALES — East Ascension High School’s first football coach, Vernon “Coon” Schexnaydre, 86, sat in the end zone Friday watching as the players warmed up on the field.
“Dad’s been waiting and dressed for this all day,” son Larry Schexnaydre said as his father greeted many of his former players.
Coach Schexnaydre sat in a golf cart with sons Kent and Larry Schexnaydre as he and five other former head coaches were honored during a pregame celebration celebrating the school’s 500th game.
In addition to honoring the former coaches, the school inducted five people and one company into its Wall and Hall of Fame.
EA Assistant Athletic Director Dirk Schexnaydre, who said he is a cousin of Coach Schexnaydre, started research on the 500th game last season and “quickly realized it was getting close.”
At first, he said, the data showed the school’s game against Mandeville High School would mark the 500th game. However, he said, two local fans noticed a mistake was made in the calculations by wrongfully counting a jamboree game in 1970.
“So, the stars aligned and it landed on homecoming night,” Dirk Schexnaydre said. “It worked out perfectly.”
In addition to Coach Schexnaydre, the school honored former coaches Joe Clark, Van Lambert, Larry Dauterive, Barrett Murphy and Fred Fontenot.
Before the on-field ceremony, former Hall and Wall of Fame recipients and EA alumni gathered under a tent in the end zone to welcome the new inductees.
Dark clouds sat over the stadium as the alumni chatted about memorable games and plays.
Hall of Fame inductees Scotty Stafford and Adrien Claiborne played on the 1989 football team coached by Dauterive.
Stafford said he and Claiborne, who was a wide receiver, “hooked up several times that season.”
Stafford called the induction “a huge honor.”
Stafford said today’s players are smarter and more advanced “but football is still football.”
“In high school, you just play ball because you love it, and I did,” Stafford said.
Claiborne, who serves as pastor of True Light Worship Center in Gonzales, said “it was awesome, real awesome” to be honored by his alma mater.
Claiborne called himself a loyal and “die hard Spartan fan” who still follows the Spartans.
The third Hall of Fame inductee, Sherrl Lynn Andrews, said she was speechless when she heard the news of her honor.
Andrews, who works in Baton Rouge as a massage therapist, said it wasn’t easy being a female athlete during her high school days.
Andrews, a 2001 graduate, was a member of the school’s first and only track team to win a state championship.
“Back then, it was a big accomplishment for us to send seven girls to the state meet,” she said.
Honored for their contributions off the field were Wall of Fame inductees Tyler Villar, Barbara Ann “Malaika” Favorite and Marchand’s Interior and Hardware Specialists.
Brian and Kyle Marchand, both EA graduates and their children Brentley, Whitnee, also EA graduates, and Tessa accepted the award.
Favorite’s cousin Larry Favorite accepted the award on her behalf.
Each inductee received small Spartan head bust statue.
Brian Marchand said his statue would be displayed at his Gonzales store.
“I think we can find a place for this,” Stafford said after the ceremony.