Prairie View kicks off the 2012 regular season Friday night against the Claiborne Academy Rebels. Starting time is 7 p.m. in Haynesville.
Having limited film on a team operating under a new head coach, Prairie View coach Reagan Morrison isn't quite sure about what to expect from the Rebels.
“They didn't show a lot in the jamboree, just like we didn't show a lot,” Morrison said. “Offensively, pretty much all I saw on film was the I, but I only have film on a few plays.”
Facing Riverdale in the jamboree, Claiborne showed a tendency to blitz.
“They brought some folks in the jamboree,” Morrison said. “They go to the ball pretty good, defensively. They ran a 52 against Riverdale.”
Morrison says the Rebels lost some of their size from last season.
“They're not as big as they were last year — without a doubt, they were the biggest team we faced last year — but they're still pretty big up front.”
Like the Spartans, the Rebels are battling the numbers game.
“They're kind of like us, short on numbers,” said Morrison, whose team dressed out 22 players for last week's jamboree. “They dressed out 19 kids last week.”
Claiborne is under the direction of first-year head coach Lyn Lumley. The well-traveled Lumley replaces veteran coach Tommy Reeder, who stepped down at the end of last season.
Lumley, who has coached in California and Oregon, enters his 28th year as a head coach. Prior to moving south, Lumley coached at Harrisburg (Ore.) last season. His resume' also includes a stint with the Portland Fighting Fillies of the Women's Football Alliance.
Prairie View won a 32-29 shootout in last year's encounter with the Rebels.
In last Friday's jamboree, the Spartans lost to Riverfield 6-0 and played to a scoreless draw against Tallulah.
Junior quarterback Dylan Carroll was a bright spot offensively for the Spartans last week, completing 11-of-18 passes for 109 yards.
Morrison says the Spartans have spent more time working with the backups this week.
“We have to make sure the twos know what to do,” Morrison said. “We got into a situation last week where some of our subs got confused on what to do. We have to make sure everybody is on the same page.”
Starting center Ross Blackard returned to practice Wednesday after missing Monday and Tuesday due to the death of his grandfather. Ty Barnhill worked with the first unit during Blackard's absence.
Conditioning and special teams have been focal points this week.
“We've had to work more on conditioning and the kids understand that,” said Morrison, who enters his third year as the Spartans' head coach. “The jamboree was two 15-minute quarters. This week, we have to be ready to play four quarters of football. Some of our kids won't come off the field except for timeouts, halftime and the end of the game.”
With special teams omitted from the jamboree, the Spartans delayed addressing the kicking game until this week.
“We've been putting our special teams in,” Morrison said. “It's been a busy week getting everything in.”
Austin McDonald will handle the kicking chores, with Matt Reed taking over the punting.
Prairie View opens MAIS District 3-2A play at home next week against Riverdale.