The final week of the prep football preseason will wrap up today with three games at the SPOT Therapy/Billy Navarre Jamboree at Sulphur High School’s Matt Walker Memorial Stadium.
While it won’t count in the win or loss column, the Tors are treating it like any other game. Sulphur will face Washington-Marion at 8 p.m.
“We trade film and break it down just like anything else,” Sulphur head coach Cecil Thomas said. “We treat it just like a real game.
“It is game prep for us. The kids are prepared just like they would Week 1 or 10. I want to see them start putting it together offensively and defensively. I am hoping that we can start to come together as a football team and clean up all the little things and get better in all three phases.”
Both teams have new coaches this year. Last year, Thomas was the head coach at Walker High School last year and led the Wildcats to an 8-3 record while Washington-Marion head coach Toriano Williams led Delhi to a 9-4 record and the Class 1A quarterfinals.
The Tors will be focused on the Charging Indians new left-handed junior quarterback in Devin Williams.
“Obviously, they are athletic and fast,” Thomas said. “The quarterback is impressive even though he is young.
“That kid is a proven winner. He won games at Delhi last year. I am excited to see him because I love watching good athletes play the game. I am excited that we get a good test right out of the gate with a very talented quarterback. He is a lefty and that can create problems for you. I am excited to see how our kids respond and get after it.”
Sulphur caught DeRidder behind the line of scrimmage 10 times last week but allowed nine plays over 10 yards, including two over 25 yards.
“We have to keep them (Washington-Marion) in front of us,” Thomas said. “We can’t let them get behind us.
“We can’t give up the big play and we have to make them earn everything they get. We have to be gap sound and protect our edges. I want to see a physical, high-flying approach to the game and I want to see all 11 hats to football.”
The game will also be the first time the Tors will play with the new 40-second play clock, 15 seconds longer than the traditional 25-second clock. Some plays will still use the 25-second clock according to an article by the National Federation of High Schools such as a point after kick, overtime, inadvertent whistle, a charged timeout, official’s timeout or if an official stops the play clock. Thomas said the new rule will not affect his team much but it could be a problem late in a close game.
“You have to make sure you are not on the opposite end of something because somebody could milk some time on you,” Thomas said. “It is an extra 15 seconds every play. We play as fast as we want to play and we can play as slow as we want to play. Offensively, it doesn’t affect us. But we have to make sure we don’t get behind the eight-ball. It will be interesting to watch to see how it progresses.”
At 5 p.m., Westlake, under former Welsh head coach John Richardson, will take on East Beauregard, who also has a new head coach in Ronald Simmons. Westlake has one of the top running backs in the area in senior J.J. Ross,, who rushed for 1,514 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2018. East Beauregard’s double-wing offense is led by a four-year starter at quarterback on Noah Gill. Wingbacks Jackson Lewis and Jacob Gimnick combined for 702 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018.
St. Louis Catholic will face LaGrange at 6:30 p.m. LaGrange is looking to rebound from a winless campaign in 2018 and returns eight starters on the offensive side including four linemen. The Saints return three all-district players in offensive lineman Timothy Thomason, defensive lineman Gabe Johnson and wide receiver Jadon Johnson, who had 1,058 all-purpose yards and scored seven touchdowns last year.