Taking another step toward its first varsity football season, the Beekman Charter Tigers held their first practice in pads Monday morning.
Battling the elements, Beekman Charter held its first official practice in pads Monday morning.
Head coach Jason Grissom says the Tigers have 24 players (grades 9-11) on their roster, though several are out of town on vacation. Entering its inaugural season as a varsity program, the second-year school does not have a senior on the roster.
BCS, which only accepted students through the 10th grade, competed as a junior varsity program in 2013. As planned, the school has added grades 11-12 for the upcoming school year.
Accepted as a member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association in the spring, BCS is in a transition year. Thus, none of the school's athletic teams are eligibile to compete for district and postseason honors.
Once the probationary period is complete, BCS will be placed in a district and become a full-fledged member of the LHSAA for the 2015-16 school year.
Monday's three-hour practice was conducted despite an off-and-on light rain.
“All in all, I thought we had a pretty good first day in pads,” Grissom said. “The rain doesn't bother me because we may have to play in the rain on Friday night.”
As a start-up program, Grissom realizes patience is a necessity.
“We're still learning how to practice, but the kids are doing everything we're asking them to do,” Grissom said. “They seem to be excited.”
Grissom was encouraged by the team's attendance and work ethic during summer workouts.
“We had a real good summer,” Grissom said. “The kids were real receptive to the weights. They're starting to enjoy lifting which is a good thing.”
Grissom opted to skip playing in a jamboree in favor of extra practice time. The Tigers will play Mangham's JV team on Tuesday, Sept 2 before playing D'Arbonne Woods — another start-up program — in consecutive games on Sept. 5 and 12.
“I think we need practice more than we need a jamboree right now,” Grissom said. “We had an opportunity to play in a jamboree, but we would have only had eight days of practice. I don't want to go out there half-cocked.”
As was the case last year, the Tigers will play their home games at Delta Magnet. School officials were hoping to have an on-campus site ready in time for the season, but those plans have been backed up until next year.
“It's a process,” Grissom said of starting a program from the ground up.
As could be expected, Grissom has seen a certain amount of progress since the spring, but the team still needs a great deal of work.
“The offensive backfield is starting to mesh. We just have to get it together with the line,” Grissom said.
Only two assistants, secondary coach Chris Nunn and receivers' coach Nicholaus Duncan, remain from the spring.
Storm Ridgeway was recently hired as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He will also be the Tigers' head baseball coach after holding the same position at Downsville Charter last year.
Zemarcus Mays and James Gamber, who have been added to the staff as CECP coaches, will instruct the offensive and defensive linemen, respectively. Both are seniors at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.