More mature Trojans look to get better

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2005

FERRIDAY, La. &045; Spring practice is about growing up for the Ferriday Trojans.

With only a few seniors gone, head coach James McFarland isn’t worried about filling too many positions. He just wants all his players to continue to grow and mature as the Trojans look to turn around after two consecutive losing seasons, the only ones under McFarland.

&uot;We have good numbers, good attitude and we’ve had good weather,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We have no complaints. We just want to make sure everybody comes back this summer and that everyone passes.&uot;

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A few prominent seniors the team did lose were quarterback Scottie Cage, tackle Demario Jones, linebacker Jeff Harris and linebacker/defensive back Cortez Minor.

&uot;We didn’t have a lot of seniors,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We just had a lot of young players.&uot;

Those young players were hard at work Wednesday afternoon in some hot conditions at Ferriday High. The team was moved off the football field as a stage was set up for today’s graduation ceremony, and the team will take today off for the same reason. The Trojans moved back to the old baseball field for some passing, blocking and tackling drills under the watchful eyes of their coaches.

McFarland expects the Trojans’ defense to carry the load early for his team while a young offense finds its way and matures.

&uot;On defense, we have more veterans,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;This year they’ll carry us, hopefully.&uot;

A priority for the Trojans is to improve the offensive line’s play, McFarland said.

&uot;The offensive line is still one of our weakest areas,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;We were so young their last year. We’re still young, but now they have one year under their belt.&uot;

Wide receiver Dra’Carl Walker said the offensive line will be key in how the offense performs.

&uot;We’re always young on the offensive line, but we have some experience now,&uot; Walker said. &uot;We have all our receivers returning and some good backs. I think we have a chance to be strong on offense.&uot;

But the biggest changes for Ferriday may not be on the field. Instead, they will be in the minds of the players and on the schedule. Several Trojans said the team has a new focus on working and better attitudes this year.

&uot;We have guys who are committed and disciplined out here,&uot; starting running back Montario Tennessee said. &uot;The last couple years not everyone was committed to working hard and doing what we had to do, but this year is a lot better. We’ve had a couple losing seasons, but this year is going to be a change.&uot;

Montario and twin brother Montego will be an important part of the team.

The schedule will also be different this fall. Instead of playing against some of the higher division opponents that have dominated the Ferriday schedule in past years, the Trojans will play more games against non-district 2A teams like Newellton.

&uot;Those were our first losing seasons, but we’ve been very successful,&uot; McFarland said. &uot;Last year we had the toughest schedule in the Louisiana according to the LHSAA. A lot of our losses were to playoff teams and higher class teams. We couldn’t get games against our own class because we had been so successful. But now we have some games we should be able to win.&uot;

The Trojans will practice Friday and three days next week to finish up the spring season.