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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Kyle Seibold - Baseball 1992-95
Seibold learned under Robichaux, delivers defensive gems for Acadiana
By Bruce Brown, Athletic NetworkSCOTT – Kyle Seibold laughed when reminded of the late December night in 2019 when he said the Acadiana Wrecking Rams defense would be even better in 2020.
This was moments after the Rams had held off Destrehan 8-3 to annex the school's fifth state Class 5A football crown in the Louisiana Superdome.- a hard performance to match for any defense.
“I don't know if I was being clairvoyant when I said that,” Seibold said, “but we did have the nucleus of a bunch of kids who had already played a lot of meaningful snaps in big games.
“We've had so many great kids (over) the last couple of years. We knew we had the chance to be really good.”
That was a bit of an understatement.
Fast forward to the end of 2020, when a wild and challenging football season wrapped up at Turpin Stadium at Northwestern State with the Rams hoisting the trophy once more.
This time AHS prevailed 35-34 over Alexandria, saved by an interception of a Trojans two-point conversion pass in the final minute.
En route to the crown, the Rams posted impressive shutouts over Mandeville (21-0) and Destrehan (23-0) in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
It was another jewel in the crown for Seibold, a former UL Ragin' Cajun baseball infielder from 1992-95 under the legendary Tony Robichaux, who is in his sixth year as the Rams' defensive coordinator.
“Our student athletes talk all the time about putting up zeroes every week,” Seibold said. “We want to play physical, so eventually the opposition gets to the point where they want to quit."
“Part of our mentality is that we want to completely dominate every week. It starts in the line. We want opponents to think they have no chance to move the ball or score against us. When the ball is snapped, we'll be there, sideline to sideline.”
One reason for that constant pressure has been the leadership of senior linebackers Dereck Bercier Jr. and Caleb Arceneaux as well as senior safety Ian Montz.
Each was a starter as a sophomore and has grown better each season.
“Dereck is the best pre-snap linebacker I've ever been around in my life,” Seibold said. “He's extremely cerebreal, always gets us lined up correctly, the quarterback of our defense.
“He gets us in and out of the 4-5 pre-snap packages we have. I didn't have that before. I've asked him to come out and tutor for us in the spring.
“Caleb is probably the most overlooked player we have in terms of recruiting, from a play-making standpoint. He's a linebacker-safety hybrid and completely understands how to play both. He's really locked in.
“And Ian Montz is another who's started since he was a sophomore. He knows what to do.”
And – sobering news for AHS foes around the state, even though that trio is finished, the Rams will return five of the eight top tacklers from the title game in 2021.
Combined with the return of quarterback Jerimiah Brown and touchdown scorers Kevan Williams and Omiri Wiggins on offense, Acadiana is well positioned for another title quest.
Even if they do scale the mountain again, though, it will be hard to top the unprecedented 2020 campaign.
With the Covid-19 virus surge and a plethora of hurricanes to dodge, football teams in south Louisiana faced numerous hurdles just to play a season.
The Rams got in eight games, earning the No. 1 seed with a 7-1 regular season, while Alexandria for example had only four contests before postseason.
“We practiced nine weeks before we got to play a football game,” Seibold said. “It was incredibly difficult, especially for the kids. It really shows what kind of kids we had.
“Our first two games (Carencro, eventually 4A champion; Ruston) were cancelled. We opened against Lafayette Christian, which is as good as any any team in the state.”
Rams' coach Matt McCullough lined up a game with Rummel, only to have Rummel switch to Holy Cross, so he went with a Sunday trip to New Orleans to tilt John Curtis.
Which is fine, except Seibold and his family had evacuated to Florida to dodge another hurricane. Seibold found his way to New Orleans for a win over Curtis.
Eventual Division I winner Catholic-Baton Rouge was arranged on a Monday for a Saturday road tilt.
“We only had two truly normal games before the playoffs,” Seibold said. “It was refreshing to sit down on a Saturday to go over film. Normalcy. It took a lot of determination and focus on the kids' part.”
Dealing with the pandemic offered more challenges, although having an experienced roster helped McCullough keep the Rams on target.
“We had a few virus problems early, but Matt did a good job of delivering the message to kids to take care of things outside of school,” Seibold said.
That unwavering focus paved the way to another title.
Alexandria, which averaged 29 points per game and 34 in the playoffs, was a formidable hurdle to clear foe title No. 6.
“They presented problems for us with their pre-snap motion,” Seibold said. “We never knew what was indicated, whether it was a real shift or just eye candy. And their blocking schemes were difficult for our linebacker and defensive back assignments.
“Destrehan's schemes didn't present the same kind of issues last year.”
The Trojans' first touchdown came on a goalline fumble recovery, while their penultimate score came courtesy of a tipped ball drill and a resulting 37-yard pass. An onsides kick and TD pass later, and the Rams had to hold on in a memorable finish.
“They had 20 points (actually 21) and a fourth-and-13 with three minutes left,” Seibold said. “They put up a Hail Mary that went off our hands and their kid caught it for a touchdown. It was a fluke play. We bat that ball down, and it's over.
“Destrehan was inside our 40 late last year and we batted the ball down on fourth down. But it was a drastically different feeling once the game was over. I never felt we were going to lose to Destrehan.
“Give Alexandria credit. They played well.”
Learning from the master
Seibold learned many life lessons while playing baseball at UL under Robichaux, many of which he's been able to incorporate into his own coaching career.
“With Coach Robe, you knew that he was always focused on how to develop you as a man even more than your understanding of the game,” Seibold said. “To watch him, listen to him and to be coached by him was a big influence on me.
“I always knew I wanted to be around sports, and I started by broadcasting games. I got my teaching certification in 2002. But, I had no fantasy about landing in a place like Acadiana, where I've been part of four state champions.”
Seibold is in his 18th year of coaching, the last 10 at Acadiana. His wife Kim teaches there, and 5th grade son Cole is a dyed in the wool fan and ball boy for the Rams.
Kyle's father Ken played basketball at Nicholls State (1967-70), facing the likes of Bo Lamar and Marvin Winkler of USL.
“Playing baseball at UL, I was teammates with guys who are lifelong friends of mine,” Seibold said. “We had a special bond and we all keep in touch. Getting to know Coach Robe was special, and my experience there is something I will always cherish.
“And, coaching in the public schools, you learn not everyone has the background and benefits you had. All kids need to be guided in their own way, and I'm there to assist in any way possible.”
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Kyle and his 1995 teammates are shown below. He is in the top row, 3rd from left.
Click here for the 1995 Baseball photo gallery.
Click here for Kyle Seibold's Athletic Network profile.Click here for the 2007-present annual/chronological listings of the Spotlight on Former Athletes.
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