Ferriday wraps up spring
ferriday — First-year head coach Richard Oliver led his Ferriday High School football team — a team he defined as “very young” — to a 5-6 record and a berth in the playoffs last season.
This year Oliver returns, along with many of the players that got their feet wet last season, and as spring practice wrapped up earlier this month Oliver said he feels good about the depth his team is developing.
“We had a big number of kids out for football compared to what we had last year,” he said. “It’s always nice when you have a large amount of kids, because depth is very important. We now have good depth and want to work to increase that and get our kids bigger, faster and stronger.”
Oliver said this was the second-consecutive year that the LHSAA did not allow teams to scrimmage in the spring, but the Trojans had enough bodies to play a spring game against each other.
“We went for seven or eight days and ended with a spring game,” Oliver said. “We divided the team up and played against each other a little bit. It was exciting for the kids to get a taste of playing against one another.”
Oliver said the defense was ahead of the offense this spring, which is to be expected this early in the year, and that created a low-scoring spring game that saw the black team top the gold team 2-0.
“The defensive unit, for the most part, looked pretty solid,” he said.
Oliver said running back/linebacker Dontrell Domino stood out during the spring game.
“(Domino) had a real good spring game,” Oliver said. “He ran the ball real well.”
Ferriday will have to replace last year’s starting quarterback Richard Jefferson, and Oliver said both players vying for that position, Shannon Morales and Miguel Page, showed positive signs during spring practice.
Morales is a big athlete that also plays outside linebacker and provides a physical presence at the position, Oliver said.
“Page has the mannerism of a quarterback, and he’s been playing that position for a while,” Oliver said.
Oliver said the position battle will play out throughout the summer, and it is possible both will see playing time in the fall.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Both bring different aspects to the table,” Oliver said.
The quarterback position is not the only spot on the field that has players competing for spots, and Oliver said he likes it that way.
“I’m a guy that believes in competition,” he said. “I wish I had competition at every position, because it brings out the best or worst in everybody.”
Despite being in the second year of Oliver’s program, the Trojans are still trying to perfect what their coach wants from them, and Oliver said that is something that they would continue to work on.
“We always need to get stronger, you are never as strong as you want to get,” he said. “I think our kids need to learn our system. It’s the second year, but we still have a lot of young players. They are a little riper this year, but we still haven’t quite learned our system.”
Oliver said the Trojans’ enthusiasm this spring was a good sign.
“The kids are excited every time they get an opportunity after they lay off of football for a long time,” he said. “We had a lot of kids that were out there giving their all.
“They are starting all over again with kids trying to battle for positions. Everything is open, and they are trying to show us the stuff they can do. Kids came out and really attacked.”
Oliver said the Trojans will still be young this season, but unlike last year, each player will have some experience under their belts.
“Their feet have been in the fire,” he said. “They are still young scheme wise, but we won’t putting kids out there that never played before.”
Oliver said the Trojans would take next week off, and start summer workouts the following week.