Spring football teases, offers ‘mad’ excitement

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 17, 2015

The 2015 spring football tour is driving me mad as if I was one of those post-apocalyptic villains in the newly released “Mad Max.”

What a month, what a lovely month!

Sports writer Matt Sigler and I have made the rounds this past week, and we’ve seen physicality, strong arms and lots and lots of speed. It’s been quite the tease for what’s sure to be an entertaining football season this fall, making me thirst for more gridiron action.

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Because the spring is still ongoing for certain teams and there have been far too many observations on our six-day spring circuit to fit into one column, consider this part one of a two-part spring review.

First and foremost, the most newsworthy item to surface this spring was undoubtedly Ferriday freshman Dare Rosenthal committing to play for Alabama. I found it amusing many on social media were in shock and awe that Rosenthal would commit as a freshman, especially when some of those Twitter gasps came from sports journalists. I don’t want to be “that guy,” but where were you when LSU received verbal commitments from eighth graders Dylan Moses and Zadock Dinkelmann? Or what about when Kentucky offered a seventh grade cornerback Jairus Brents in 2013? And who could forget the time the University of Southern California offered 13-year-old David Sills, who is now a 2015 prospect West Virginia signee?

This is the world college football created. Glad to see Rosenthal take advantage of it, and draw more eyes on the Miss-Lou in the process.

Hopefully that leads to other schools garnering attention, like Adams County Christian School, who led off our spring tour. I’m not going to lie — I was a little skeptical when ACCS coaches told me a month ago they were going to be just as good this season. That’s ludicrous, I thought, losing seniors like Trey Fleming, Lester Wells and Torrey Smith is sure to have lead to a dropoff. Well, after observing the steps wide receiver George Scott has taken this spring, the physical prowess of Jordan Wells, and most impressively, mammoth offensive linemen Chris Sikes and Jo Adams in action, I’m starting to drink the Kool-Aid.

Carlos Woods returns as the starting quarterback, and he’ll offer a strong arm to go along with quick, evasive feet in the backfield for the Rebels. Woods’ strong arm should be enough to make opponents fear the deep passing game, ultimately making the task of stopping running backs Chisum Mardis and Jordan Wells even more miserable. Hope ACCS’ foes enjoy running into brick walls.

If ACCS can successfully transition from a finesse offense to a smash-mouth running style, another state championship appearance could be in the Rebels’ future.

I’m afraid championship talk won’t be a huge topic involving Natchez High School this offseason, but the Bulldogs still have some of the best athletes in the area. Those of you who have read my columns on a regular basis know exactly how I feel about the young Chris Scott, and entering his sophomore season, Scott will be the most athletic quarterback in the area. Add speedsters like Malik Byrd, Ty Terrell and Shavoke Herrington as weapons, and this offense could easily light up a scoreboard. However, that’s assuming Scott gets enough time and can avoid getting put on his back. Offensive line is a major concern for Natchez, having to replace two starters with not a tremendous amount of depth.

Defensively, I like the secondary, most notably the return of Herrington, who recorded eight interceptions as a freshman last season. During a practice scrimmage, Scott dropped back to pass and tried to find his receiver in the corner of the end zone, only to have Herrington come across the field and swat the ball away.

“I didn’t know (Herrington) was that fast,” Natchez head coach Melvin Pete told his quarterback. “He’s going to make you so good.”

If Pete can get his offensive line prepared enough to give Scott time to direct the offense, Natchez High on a Friday night should be a hot ticket in town.

Too bad we have to wait a few months to see the action unfold. I guess in the meantime I’ll try to satisfy my thrill-seeking by going to see “Mad Max” in 3D.


JAKE MARTIN is the sports editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or jake.martin@natchezdemocrat.com.