DENHAM SPRINGS – Heading into his third season in charge at Denham Springs High coach Bill Conides is ready to leave his mark on the program. But before he can do that, he’ll have to make sure his prolific offense is set to replace a handful of key playmakers.
His Yellow Jackets will take part in a four-way scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday with Donaldsonville, East Iberville and host Plaquemine in the first action since a 38-37 loss to Acadiana in the Class 5A state regionals last season.
Denham Springs has since graduated starting running back Treveon Muse the All-Parish Offensive MVP, and wide receivers DJ Williams, Kaleb Drummer, and Hunter Bond.
Combined with quarterback Luke Lunsford, those explosive threats helped contribute to an offense that averaged 33 points per game and clipped the 60-point mark twice en route to a 7-5 season.
Now Conides must worry about replacing all those big playmakers. Fortunately, he has not only prepared the next in line but gotten them vital experience in 2018 they can carry over into 2019.
Running back Patrick Isadore spelled Muse well last season because he was a complimentary runner. While Muse was more a zone-based downhill runner, Isadore ran well in space and was more elusive.
Speedster Trey Golmond was able to crack the solid rotation at receiver and will be the go-to target this season.
“Last year we graduated four guys who were extremely productive,” Conides said. “All of them had over 30 receptions. When you lose four guys like that, that’s a ton of productivity. When you look at it on the surface you say, ‘man, how do you replace four seniors?’
“Not to knock those guys at all, but the kids that we have coming up are faster…as good as those guys were last year,” Conides said. “I think we’re replacing them with some good guys who are going to fly under the radar a little bit. But that’s okay, we want it that way.”
The most vital cogs to the Denham Springs offense, the offensive line and quarterback are also returning. Conides raved about the progression of quarterback Luke Lunsford between his junior and senior season.
“He’s gotten bigger, he’s gotten faster, and I think he’s more polished,” Conides said. “I certainly think he’s more developed. The 12 games he played last year; he was able to gain so much experience. Typically, you play sophomores and they have a big jump towards their junior year. Luke is going to make that jump for his senior year. His anticipation is better, the way he processes coverages is certainly better. He’s one the hardest workers we’ve got. I think he’s going to have a big year, huge year.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Conides is especially pleased with the progression of the defensive line, whom he called “extremely aggressive” and the best individual group of the spring. The linebacking core returns a plethora of experience and look to be the strength of the team both physically and emotionally. The cornerbacks are young but have all developed well according to Conides.
Lunsford is especially significant to Conides’ program because his senior class were freshman when he arrived on campus, making this year’s seniors all products of Conides’ system. As he enters his “money year”, Conides is confident that the program is headed in the right direction.
“I think the progress has been phenomenal,” Conides said. “You can certainly tell that it’s year three of our program. The kids, even the younger ones, know what to expect. I think the seniors have done a phenomenal job of echoing our voice and our expectations, what we’re trying to do. Back in January, we couldn’t wait for spring practice and now we can’t wait for spring camp because of how far we’ve progressed in this three-year period.”