The Chalmette coaching staff looks for leadership from junior linebacker Rhett Pritchard on defense and mult-dimensional junior running back James Banks on offense to get off to a fast start in the 2009 season opener as the Owls host John McDonogh on Friday (7 p.m.) at Bobby Nuss Stadium and CHS celebrates its 56th season playing football.

In 1954, Arabi High changed its name with a newly-constructed campus as Chalmette High. Before that the parish's first high school opened in 1931 and was called Joseph Maumas High which would later be changed to Arabi.

As Jason Tucker enters his third year at the helm of Owl football, he remembers the start of last season when Hurricane Gustave forced the season opener to be played on Monday night and the Owls suffered a tough loss (24-14) in a game they expected to win.

Chalmette finished the '08 season with a 2-8 mark and a second year in the Catholic League that the Owls will no longer be a part of this year. CHS plays a district schedule in the Class 5A Jefferson Parish district.

Pritchard set a school record for a 10th grader with 97 tackles in his 10 games as he made seven stops for losses and recovered two fumbles.

Like Banks, junior Johnquel Jones sees action on both sides of the line of scrimmage -- as the starting defensive tackle where he made 69 stops, ranking second on the club behind Pritchard and had a team-leading 10 tackles for losses as well as two fumble recoveries.

Sophomore Caleb Anglin ranked third on the team in tackles (54) as a freshman with two knocked down passes and three stops for losses.

Donald Harris as a sophomore made 45 tackles, intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards and recovered a fumble.

Banks is becoming one of the most versatile and talented players in school history as displayed by his sophomore season performance when he gained 679 yards on the ground, caught 20 passes (167 yards, second on the team in both pass catching stats) with one going for a score and leading the team in kickoff returns with 406 yards including one run back 95 yards for a score - third longest in school history, as he gained over a 1,000 total yards.

The Owl offense should be stronger with junior Craig Sylvera starting his second season under center as he threw for 635 yards and completed nearly half of his passes.

Tucker stresses that much of the offensive success depends upon the play of the offensive line which will be anchored by returning starter in senior Dylan Boyd who is set to be joined by another returning starter in junior Zack Starks, senior center Cody Wagner, versatile senior Brandon Abadie and sophomore Sharif Khalaileh.