Trinity begins fall practice

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

eric shelton | The Natchez Democrat Trinity Episcopal Day School’s Tanner Cage, far left, practices drills with his teammates during football practice Tuesday morning at Trinity’s practice field. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal School football team is coming off back-to-back state titles in MAIS Class A. But, as the Saints take the field this week to begin preparations for the 2011 campaign, they start with a clean slate in Class AA and some new faces that will have to step into the roles of the 12 seniors lost off last year’s squad.

“We have a lot of veterans to replace, we lost six two-way starters,” head coach David King said. “Now we’re trying to find out who can and can’t (step in). We have young talented players, but they are not proven.”

King said there are several spots open for the 26 players on the roster to fill, but the main challenge will be for the 11 seniors on this year’s team to provide leadership.

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“We will go as far as the seniors want to go,” he said. “Every year we challenge (the seniors). They are coming behind two classes with state championships, and they are going to get the same coaching; that’s not going to change.

“We lost some very talented seniors, but we have juniors and sophomores that played last year, and were every down players.”

One of those underclassmen that will be called on to take on a large role for the Saints is junior Tanner Cage.

Cage, who missed some time last season with an injury, said he is glad to be back on the field preparing for football.

“(Starting fall practice) is great because after the summer program we finally can get on the field, the offense and defense together, and get to work,” he said. “It’s going good for us. We’re out here trying to get ready, and coach is preaching that there are a lot of teams doubting us.”

Cage said he learned a lot from last year’s seniors.

“It was fun. Every day we had fun at practice,” he said. “We played when it was time to play, and we handled our business.”

Cage said this season he is going to try to step into more of a leadership role himself.

Cage, a defensive back and wide receiver, transferred to Trinity from Ferriday before his freshman season, and he said the Saints’ players treated him as one of their own from day one.

“I was so happy. The first day I got on they welcomed me in like I was here since kindergarten,” he said. “They treated me like a brother.”

King said finding new players to take ownership of the team is one of the main objectives of fall practice.

“Certainly we want to iron out the leadership spots,” King said. “We want to make sure the team is always the most important part. The individual stuff takes care of itself.”

King said the players’ work this summer will really come in to play during the next week and a half of two-a-days.

“As usual, turnout was good for summer work, and we come in to two-a-days in great shape,” he said.

King said even through the summer the focus was on creating a team mentality.

“We do a lot of team work during the summer, and the kids stay together,” he said. “Of the 25 or 26 kids most are here through the summer, and the kids are very close. I just feel like this team is another good Trinity football team.

“Winning is contagious, and they believe they should win. We have got a lot to prove. Moving up in class is a big task.”

King said the team will continue two-a-days through this week and the early part of next week, and then they will strap on their pads and start practicing once a day.

Trinity begins it quest for a third-straight championship Aug. 19 against Jefferson County High School, King said. They will play St. Aloysius in the jamboree on Aug. 12 at Devereux Stadium.