MHSAA schools open practice this week with two-a-days

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2004

MEADVILLE &045; There’s really a different sort of anticipation at Franklin County right now.

Everyone other MHSAA team in the Miss-Lou is ready to start official practices on Monday with the hope of finding the right players for the right positions and the right chemistry. The Bulldogs from Meadville are a step ahead after claiming the region title last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season.

Now with only four starters gone on offense and two on defense, the Bulldogs will start today trying to keep it going and topping last year’s result. They will have one two-a-day workout on Monday at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will go once from Tuesday on at 3:30 p.m.

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&uot;We didn’t lose many starters,&uot; FC head coach Anthony Hart said. &uot;We were pretty young last year. We’re hoping to have a good year.&uot;

Practices open today for schools in the MHSAA who will not play a Classic game Aug. 27. Every team in the Miss-Lou will play on that day except for Cathedral, which will play in the Vidalia jamboree Aug. 28 and open the regular season Sept. 3.

The Green Wave will hold its first official practice Aug. 9.

Ferriday will also start workouts Monday, and the first official day of practice in the LHSAA is Aug. 9.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have the luxury of replacing just six starters from a year ago and still will not be senior-heavy this season with just six starting on offense. The Bulldogs started a number of sophomores on defense last season, an area that became one of the team’s strengths.

&uot;We’re pretty balanced,&uot; Hart said. &uot;I think we’ll have 11 seniors on the team. I would say we had 80 percent of the team every day (for summer lifting). We had a real good turnout. We’ve had a lot of gains. The kids have gotten a lot stronger.&uot;

Of the positions the Bulldogs need to fill this fall, it’s kind of a transition for the offense at the skill positions. The offense did lose Tommy Gibbs at quarterback, but Hart said speedy tailback Jasper O’Quinn will move to quarterback after he gained over 1,400 yards last season as a junior.

The Bulldogs have their fullback returning in Deandrea Cameron but lost top receiver Zach Thomas. That tailback position, meanwhile, may still be up for grabs.

&uot;It is open, but we have some good prospects, I think,&uot; Hart said.

Natchez High

NATCHEZ &045; If there are players who think the new coaches are a bunch of nice guys, that notion may change quickly.

Lance Reed will start his first two-a-day workout Monday with the Bulldogs along with his staff to officially kick off the 2004 season. The Bulldogs have spent time in the weight room, meetings and even some 7-on-7 action this summer, but come Monday they will be in full gear ready to start.

The Bulldogs will from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and later from 5:30 p.m. to 7.

&uot;We’ll pick up the intensity a little bit for the most part,&uot; Reed said. &uot;Everything we’ve done so far has been conditioning, training and knowing the system. We’ll pick up from square one as far as knowing the system, especially for those who haven’t been here this summer. We’re excited and ready to roll.&uot;

Numbers should be up compared to this point last year as the Bulldogs will dress out between 55 and 60 players. That’s not counting the additions when school starts on Thursday.

Then it’s on to work as everyone gets ready to start the season. Reed scheduled a jamboree at home Aug. 20 with Hinds AHS, Wilkinson County and Jefferson County in the first year Class 5A schools were allowed to have jamborees.

&uot;Out in Texas, we started out playing at least two scrimmages,&uot; Reed said. &uot;It gives you an idea of at least what you need to work on. We’re pleased with where (numbers) are at right now. We’ll have at least 20 or 30 more players coming out. I don’t see why that can’t happen. We’ll be right at 70 or 80 &045; that’s the number I’m shooting for.&uot;

Jefferson County

FAYETTE &045; The optimism of coming off their first playoff appearance in 20 years carried over into the summer for the Jefferson County Tigers, who must replace some key positions this fall.

The Tigers will start fall workouts today but will have two-a-day workouts on Tuesday and Thursday starting at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Single-day workouts will start at 5 p.m.

&uot;We had a pretty good turnout this summer,&uot; third-year JC head coach Jeffrey Harness said. &uot;It’s growing every year, but we’re still improving. It’s not where I’d like it to be, but it’s improving.&uot;

The Tigers will resume plans today following a productive spring of trying to fill some key holes left by seniors from last season. The Tigers won’t have speedy Josh Nichols at receiver, Chris Carradine at quarterback and bookend tackles Anthony Davis and Terrence Lee.

The quarterback position, Harness said, remains open.

&uot;We’re lacking in depth,&uot; he said. &uot;But we’ll be OK. We’ll take it game by game and day by day. We’ve got two or three guys who are fighting for (the QB spot).&uot;

Wilkinson County

WOODVILLE &045; The Wildcats will start today working with a number of returners from a disappointing finish last year in Region 7-3A.

Head coach John Moore and the Wildcats missed out on the playoffs in a tight race but have to replace just three seniors on offense and two on defense. The Wildcats, who lost a number of close games, suited up mostly juniors last year.

The Wildcats will likely return their skill players from last year except running back James Jones, the lone senior in the backfield last season.


FERRIDAY, La. &045; Numbers will again take a hit with the Trojans at the start of fall camp, but for once it may not be as bad.

The Trojans, who lost just six starters from last year’s team that squeezed into the playoffs, had an upbeat summer despite some losses. Head coach James McFarland will have players inside lifting at 9 a.m. and hitting the field at 4 p.m.

&uot;Summer has been great,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We’ve had 100 percent this summer. That’s been great. They’ve been working hard. Right now I think they have gotten better than this time last year. That’s all you can ask and hope they take it out on the field.&uot;

The Trojans were scheduled to have 18 players back from a season ago, namely quarterback Scotty Cage and starters up front on both sides of the ball, but things happened.

Ten or 11 will return on Monday for practice, McFarland said.&uot;

&uot;That happens,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s just a number of things.&uot;