NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — There’s a sea change at Isidore Newman football.

After four years of Arch Manning, the Greenies will be more of a running club. Their quarterback, junior Eli Friend is a bruiser, and head coach Nelson Stewart likes it.

“We are building off the run game first, playing good team defense, and we are incredibly fortunate we have Eli Friend. The things Arch did are certainly very unique in his own, but it is a rarity, for Eli who has come up through our system. We’ve known him since Pre-K. He’s worked incredibly hard. We are so excited about what he can do as a runner and a thrower, and then adding in what we have up front. I’d like to think that hopefully, we have a chance to be a little bit better. You always say that, but 18 seniors we are really excited,” said Newman head football coach Nelson Stewart.

Eli Friend kept the football and scored in Friday’s three-team scrimmage at Tad Gormley Stadium with West Jefferson and De La Salle. Opponents should get used to it.

“He’s not a fullback, he’s more of a running back. He showed that last year. He’s got a good release and got good mastery of our offense. Really, you just don’t want to have force things. I think in our division, you have to be balanced. You have to be able to run it. If you think you can just sit back there and throw it, everybody is dropping eight, it’s going to lead to problems and that’s where we’re putting our emphasis right now, said Stewart.

Friend said the buzz around the team is good. If others have lowered expectations, they do not.

“I think expectations within the locker room are definitely high. We are definitely playing with a chip on our shoulders. There are less cameras around practices and games, but I think that really just adds a chip on everyone’s shoulder. We still hold ourselves to high expectations, and I think we are ready to live up to that,” said Newman quarterback Eli Friend.

Newman will play St. Martin’s in their jamboree next week before opening the season against Hahnville Friday, September 1st.

You can catch all of the high school football action on WGNO’s Friday Night Football, presented by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The show happens every Friday night at 11 p.m. on Nola 38 the CW. The replay begins at midnight on WGNO.

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