TEAM IDENTITIES: Delta Charter adjusting to life as a varsity football team
Published 12:01 am Monday, September 28, 2015
FERRIDAY — With their head football coach being replaced weeks before the season, the roster downgrading from 40 players to 27 and numerous injuries piling up, the Delta Charter Storm have faced adversity in its inaugural varsity football season.
At a Delta Charter practice on a Wednesday — a day when most teams in the area scrimmage against one another — the Storm were going through a walkthrough-type practice in pads. The reasoning? Delta Charter was gearing up to play Oak Grove two days later with four starters missing. More adversity.
“We’re having to use a lot of junior high guys right now, actually,” Delta Charter coach Jarrett Hoffpauir said. “It’s good and bad in a way. They get to see some things, but on the other hand, we can’t really go full swing with them. Our numbers have been so small right now, it makes it tough for us. We’re doing the best we can with the kids that are bought in, and that’s the kids that have stuck here with us. We’re rolling with it.”
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It’s hard for the Storm to simulate a game when there aren’t enough players to provide a scout team, which Hoffpauir acknowledged results in sluggish starts. But to his players’ credit, Hoffpauir said they’ve shown great toughness, battling through the adversity and showing resiliency through the early obstacles.
Hoffpauir, who accepted the job after Dewayne Taylor resigned in late August, has taken on the challenge of molding a team full of underclassmen.
“It’s something that you can’t really prepare for,” Hoffpauir said. “We’re in a unique situation with our age group, having no seniors on our team. It’s hard to realistically compete, but our guys have stepped up to the table. We have a freshman quarterback and freshman running back. You can look out there and see a lot of ninth and 10th graders, and that’s something we’re going to build around.”
Freshman quarterback Trey Poole is learning on the fly. He acknowledged it’s more difficult learning the position without seeing a live defense every day.
“It’s just like school,” Poole said. “I like to see stuff to get better at it. I’m a visual learner is what you could say.”
At 1-3 on the season, the Storm, has learned the value in taking a season one game at a time.
After beating Lake Charles College Prep 30-6, Poole said the team lost its focus heading into a battle against Cedar Creek, which showed in the form of a 42-8 loss.
“We celebrated and hung on that celebration for a week,” Poole said. “Coach told us that you can’t hang on one game for a week, but Monday starts a new practice and a new week.”
The Storm then lost to 4A Grant, but Hoffpauir said the team came into the game prepared and played much better, falling 36-20.
Hoffpauir said it’s difficult getting a young team to realize where it’s at, and after a loss to Oak Grove, he’s trying to keep his team’s mind on the bigger goal, which is laying the foundation for better seasons at Delta Charter. Until the Storm get that senior class next year, Delta Charter players will continue to gain experience in game-time action.
As a result, Storm players will take their share of lumps, but it’s going to take a lot more than hard hits to discourage the resilient Storm.
“When you get knocked down, you have to get back up,” Poole said. “Every team we’ve played has been bigger than us, but I think we showed them — it doesn’t matter how big you are. You just have to have heart.”