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Ferriday begins spring football, looks to fill holes from 2014

Ferriday High School’s Malik Hampton runs with the football during spring practice. Hampton will be one of several running backs vying to fill the shoes of Dontrell Domino, who led the team in rushing last season. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday High School’s Malik Hampton runs with the football during spring practice. Hampton will be one of several running backs vying to fill the shoes of Dontrell Domino, who led the team in rushing last season. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — With the likes of Dontrell Domino, Shannon Morales and Allen Cummings no longer suiting up, the Ferriday Trojans’ spring practice holds more weight than ever.

“It is very crucial,” Ferriday head coach Cleothis Cummings said. “Anytime you go out in the spring you are working in new pieces. Fortunately, we do have some of the pieces we had last year, but we lost some from the 2014 team. We are continuously working hard, and with attention to detail. I just think the guys that we have stepping in have to find confidence and buy into what we are teaching them.”

Ferriday is coming off a 6-5 finish in 2014, where they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. However, Cummings said he has seen good things from his team so far in the spring.

“There has been a great attitude from the freshmen up to the veterans,” he said. “That is something you have to have to build on with the football team. There aren’t any egos or selfishness, and with the kids we have out right now, I think we’ll be able to do some incredible things.”

Domino, who perhaps leaves the biggest hole after rushing for more than 1,800 yards last season, was the workhorse for Ferriday in the backfield, and now, Cummings is tasked with finding his replacement.

“Right now we are working to find that,” Cummings said. “We have Malik Hampton, Dominique Jackson and Mikael Jefferson. Those are the three frontrunners. We are going to take it day by day and let them work themselves into the system and learn.”

Morales, who spent time at quarterback last season, will give way to Ronald Williams, who saw action under center in 2014, but will now step into the role full time.

“(Ronald) knows what he has to do and knows what we expect of him,” Cummings said. “He knows that Shannon is gone and the bulk of the responsibility falls on his shoulders. He has to just make sure he stays focused. He has to build that relationship with his teammates and make sure they trust him.”

Williams threw for more than 1,000 yards last season with seven touchdowns before Morales took over.

Ultimately, though, Cummings wants to use the spring to prepare his kids for the summer where he plans to do the bulk of the preparation for the season.

“We want to see our kids be productive,” he said. “We aren’t going out there trying to set records and do anything like that, we just want the kids to get better everyday, and if we see them do that, that means we are moving forward going into summer where we get our work in.”

Ferriday will have a spring game next Saturday at Wossman to conclude their spring practices.