DENHAM SPRINGS -– Those hoping to catch a glimpse of Denham Springs’ No. 1 units against Walker’s will have to wait until the regular season.
That didn’t stop the Yellow Jackets and Wildcats from getting some work in against each other during 7-on-7 drills Wednesday at Denham Springs High.
For those keeping score, the Wildcats scored once while keeping the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone. The biggest takeaway for both teams is progress.
“I think execution and assignments are good,” Denham coach Bill Conides said. “I think that’s one thing you look for. The thing we’ve got to get better at is just playing our game, being us, being Denham Springs football and not worry about who we’re playing.”
“We’re just ready to play somebody else when it really matters. We feel like we’re ready to go.”
“We’re 10 steps of where we were last year, so that’s good for us,” Walker coach Lester Ricard said while pointing out the Wildcats are still without Trent Montgomery. “I’m happy with where we are right now. We’ve still got a lot to get done. We’re still installing. We’ve got a good football team, there’s no doubt about that.”
When the teams squared off in the final 20-minute session, they did so with second-teamers to start.
“The twos got a lot of really good reps today,” Conides said. “That was good. I would have liked to have seen the ones get reps. I would have liked to have had the ones get at least two (series). It’s just the way it played out.”
Neither team was able to get anything going offensively as Walker’s Zach LaCour picked off Denham’s Hayden Horne – the team’s starting free safety -- to end the first series between the teams.
The Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard on their third series with their No. 1 offense on the field. Christian Ard went 4-for-6, hitting Jalen Cook three times for 35 yards on the possession.
“Those guys were begging me just to get one series in,” Ricard said of his first-team offense. “I had to give them (one).”
That set up a 10-yard TD pass from Ard to Brian Thomas in the back corner of the end zone.
“I was at the back of the end zone, and the ball was thrown kind of short, so I had to get in position to be able to catch the ball,” Thomas said.
“I was able to catch the ball well. Igot some good throws. Stuff was just clicking for us.”
Conides said he wasn’t concerned about the score.
“As long as their kids are getting good reps, that’s all that matters,” he said. “Everybody got to play today, so it was good.”
Denham bounced back as Horne hit Phillip Earnhart for 14 yards and appeared connect with Preston Holwager on a 31-yard TD, but Walker’s Kataj Darden broke the pass up in the end zone.
In other action, Denham’s Luke Lunsford threw TD passes to Kaleb Drummer and Hunter Bond against Hammond. Bond also caught a 9-yard TD pass from Lunsford against St. Helena.
“We’re working on the reads, so I know where I’m going a lot of times,” Lunsford said. “Seven-on-seven, it’s good seeing it. We do everything on the chalkboard, so it’s good seeing players actually move around.”
Ard started the action under center for the Wildcats, connecting with Thomas on TD passes of 15 and 45 yards against St. Helena. Ard and Cook also hooked up on a TD pass against Hammond.
Although Ard started under center, Ricard said the Wildcats’ quarterback competition isn’t decided.
“They’re all getting the same reps,” Ricard said of the Wildcats’ QBs. “(Ard) had a great Friday at the Southeastern 7-on-7. You never know? You’ve got to put the pads on, so that’s going to be the next move – to see how he progresses when they put those pads on.”
Walker’s Ethan McMasters and Kevin Brady also connected for a score against St. Helena.
B.J. Lockhart also had an interception –- one of three for the Wildcats on the day.
“We’ve got some speed and length back there, so that makes it easy for guys to fly around, so I like where we are on that side of the football as well,” Ricard said of the Wildcats’ defense. “Defense is going to be our calling card.”