WALKER – Walker and Springfield each had a mixed bag of results in the third week of Baton Rouge Metro 7-on-7 League in the Wednesday at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats started strong against with a scoreless tie with Central before Hammond and Springfield got late scores against WHS in the next two sessions.
“I told our guys, honestly, I think it was our worst day,” Walker coach Chad Mahaffey said. “It wasn’t really about whether we won or lost. I didn’t feel a lot of fire and enthusiasm, competitiveness. I didn’t think the intensity was really there.
“It just wasn’t a sharp day. That’s really all I can say. We’ll have a tournament this weekend Saturday (at Louisiana-Lafayette), and hopefully we’ll play better.”
Springfield, meanwhile, did the opposite, putting in its best effort of the day against Walker in the final session after falling to Hammond and Central.
“We got better as the day went on, and I think we’re getting more confidence in the things that we’re doing out here offensively and defensively,” Springfield coach Ryan Serpas said after the Bulldogs got their two scores in the final session against Walker’s second-team defense. “This is good work for us. We’re a 2A school going against 5A schools out here. Every school out here was a 5A school, so we know coming out here that there’s going to be a lot of talent on the field, and we’ve got to rise up to the challenge. I think that’s only going to make us a better team going into the season next year.”
Walker and Springfield squared off in the final session of the day, with Wildcats QB Ethan McMasters hitting three straight passes to open action against the Bulldogs, the last of which went for a 27-yard TD to Payton Richard.
The conversion was a tight play on a pass from McMasters to Brian Thomas. Mahaffey said in 7-on-7 situations, he’s more concerned with taking care of teaching moments than scoring points.
“On that play specifically it’s one of those deals in 7-on-7 and the touch, we probably weren’t quite in,” Mahaffey said. “In a game, I think that probably gets in there, but the learning point for us is, hey, let’s make sure where we are on the field that we can get a little bit deeper and make sure we get that catch without any questions on it.”
Devin Boissat intercepted Springfield quarterback Bryan Babb to end the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive.
Keon Baylock hit Richard on a 28-yard TD to close out Walker’s next drive, and the conversion went incomplete.
That enabled the Bulldogs to start their comeback, with Babb hitting three straight passes before connecting with Isaiah Netter on a 7-yard TD and Bradlyn McKay on the conversion.
Springfield forced a three-and-out, setting up its final score when Babb hit three straight passes, the last of which was a 19-yard TD by Trevon Washington, which was followed by a conversion pass to Washington.
“On the first two series, I was kind of nervous, not getting the ball out fast enough, not making the right reads,” Babb said. “But that last series, it just clicked in. We all started running our routes perfectly. We were all getting open, and I started making the reads just like that – happening quickly.”
Walker and Central put drives together against each other to open the day but neither managed to score. Walker’s Kerry Flowers had an interception to end the session.
“Defensively, I thought it started out pretty good,” Mahaffey said. “I thought, as a coach, it’s hard to have a shutout in 7-on-7 on both sides, but that’s good by our defense. They played really well there.”
Against Hammond, McMasters connected on four straight passes to open the session with the final one a 21-yard TD pass to Jasper Turner. Walker missed out on the conversion.
After both teams went three-and-out, Hammond’s Caden Slocum hit Tydarius McGee on a touchdown, and Slocum connected with Nick Lawrence on the conversion.
Walker’s Dayne Carpenter was intercepted to end the session.
“I think for our whole team a little bit, I think the heat kind of got us,” Mahaffey said. “I’m not losing my mind over it, but at the same time, we’ve got to fight through that a little better. I think it just kind of wore on our energy and our enthusiasm and our sharpness.”
Springfield gave up three touchdowns against Hammond while scoring twice on TD passes from Babb to Washington and David Givens.
Central scored three times against the Bulldogs, including a 45-yard TD from quarterback Jonathan Swift to Warren Banks. Central's defense also intercepted Babbb once.
“It’s breakdowns in the secondary,” Serpas said of the big plays. “Kids still have their eyes in the wrong place and are making wrong reads. They’re worried about trying to do somebody else’s job instead of doing their job. Hopefully that’s something that they’ll understand that you can’t be everywhere. As long as you do your job and you’re accountable, then good things will happen. We’re going to keep working and give them opportunities to get better. Going forward, I really like where we’re at.”