Frank Daggs And The McDonogh 35 Roneagles Respond To Adversity While Living Legendary Coach’s Memory
by Jace LeJeune
Frank Daggs has been alongside the legendary Hall of Fame head coach Wayne Reese Sr. for the last 17 years. During that time, the McDonogh 35 Roneagles have achieved a lot of success on the field, but most importantly, the coaching duo has also helped a lot of student athletes achieve their dreams of playing at the college level. However, the entire state lost one of its best coaches when Coach Reese passed away earlier this April due to complications from COVID-19.
Thus, Coach Daggs had to step in and not only fill the shoes of a longtime friend, but also help prepare his team for an uncertain season because of COVID-19. Still, it was the great advice that Daggs has received over the years from Coach Reese that has helped the first year McDonogh 35 head coach in dealing with unexpected situations.
“The number one thing that Coach Reese always taught us was that you can’t change what is going to happen,” Coach Daggs said. “You have to be prepared for the best way possible and it can be anything. That’s what happened this year with all the stuff due to COVID and all the different rules that comes along with it. You can write a book with all the things that our school has had to deal with the last 10-15 years.”
Going back to Hurricane Katrina, McDonogh 35 High School has always been known to overcome adversity. 2020 proved to be no different. Despite all of the obstacles along the way, Coach Daggs was focused on the task at hand to allow the players to play out the season, especially the seniors from this class. The results were satisfying as the team went 7-4 and made the playoffs.
“We have a constant goal that we are always going to be in the playoffs,” Coach Daggs said. “For this year, we did the best that we could do with the changes that were happening. We made the playoffs, but in my eyes, I thought we could have done some stuff a little differently. I am not taking anything from the effort of our kids. They played their hearts out every play, and I loved every minute of it. My focus was to make sure that the seniors had their season so it could help them when going to college or if they don’t get to play in college, they would have an opportunity to close out their career.”
Fortunately for Coach Daggs and company, the Roneagles continue to send plenty of talent on college football rosters even despite the circumstances.
“So far, I believe we have 10 of the 17 seniors sign somewhere so far,” Coach Daggs said. “David Ellis has signed to play at Southeastern Louisiana. Tariq Jones has signed to play at Hawaii. Both Raymond Forman and Ramon James have signed to play at Wisconsin Lutheran. The twins Kyle and Keelan Cooper are both going to play at a community college in Minnesota. Also, a lot of our players are going to walk on at ULM and other places like that. Jamarian Henderson and Walter Robert will have opportunities to walk on over there as well. Finally, we have other players that are talking with colleges and to make sure they are good.”
Good is what the program continues to be both on and off the field for the years to come.
“What makes the program successful is that the kids listen,” Coach Daggs said. “When they listen, good things happen for them. They come in, trust the process, and continue to grind. That’s a key to succeed both academically and athletically.”
It is also clear that not only the players listen, but coaches listen and it is how Coach Daggs runs this program that would sure make Coach Reese Sr. smile if he were alive today.
“The kids still work hard,” Coach Daggs said. “Don’t take any days off. Keep getting physically and mentally ready.”
There is without a doubt that the Roneagles are ready to fight in 2021.
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Jace is from Addis, LA but resides in Port Allen, LA. Jace attends Southeastern Louisiana University and is majoring in Communications. This is Jace’s fourth year as Associate Editor at Louisiana Football Magazine. He is also a graduate from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was the editor of the school newspaper the “Bearly Published.” While at CHS, Jace also announced their football, basketball, and baseball games for the Bruin Broadcast Network which is the Catholic High’s streaming website for their events. On weekends, Jace is the PA announcer for his middle school football games. At home, Jace enjoys time with his family and friends. Besides being a huge football fan, Jace is also an avid NHRA drag racing fan.