MONROE — Just as it is supposed to be at this time of the year, Bastrop came away from Saturday's three-way preseason scrimmage with Ferriday and Wossman with some plusses and minuses.
All three teams were able to get in some valuable work under the round robin format, which included 10-play possessions with the first and second units, goal line situations and two 15-minute quarters.
Bastrop blanked Ferriday 12-0 in the live action on a pair of touchdown passes from Quaterious Hawkins to Christian Smith and played host Wossman to a scoreless draw.
Coach Adrian Burnette said the Rams picked up the intensity level in the live segment after a slow start in the controlled, 10-play format.
"The only bad thing about a controlled type situation, where you have coaches on the field, is the kids tend to take it like practice," Burnette said. "That can be anywhere from great to horrible. Once we went live and started running the clock, we played better."
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for the Rams was the play of the offensive line.
"Our offensive line played better than I expected. We're still a little ways off, but Ferriday has a couple of big-time four and five-star recruits," said Burnette, referring to tackle Dare Rosenthal and end Dantrieze Scott.
For wide receiver Calvert Johnson, a strong preseason camp carried over into the scrimmage.
"Calvert showed us some good things," Burnette said. "He didn't play much last year, so we're still trying to bring him along. If he gets everything going in the same direction, he is going to be one of the top receivers in the area."
Like Johnson, cornerback Zedarrion Ridgell followed up a productive camp with a stellar effort Saturday afternoon.
Wide receiver/cornerback Lawrence Moore Jr., meanwhile, showed out on both sides of the field with a pair of picks and a 60-yard reception off of a screen pass.
Burnette says the Rams are still trying to find their way defensively.
"We were up and down on defense," Burnette said. "We have yet to find an identity as to who we truly are, but that's going to come."
First, the Rams will need to get healthy. End Terrion Morgan is expected to be out for two weeks after dislocating his shoulder early in the afternoon. Bastrop played short-handed in the secondary as Phillip Jackson missed the scrimmage altogether with a high ankle sprain and C.J. Mullens sprained an ACL.
Having two mainstays out opened the door for Dominique Turner and Kiantre Robinson to work with the first unit.
"It's a bad situation when you have two starters of that caliber banged up this early, but it gives you the opportunity to give the younger guys some extra reps," Burnette said.
Overall, the scrimmage went about as Burnette expected.
"I didn't expect this team to be anywhere close to what we can be until around midseason," Burnette said. "The only two questions I ask is are we better today than we were yesterday, and are we better this week than we were last week. As long as I can say yes to both of those questions every single time, I know we're going in the right direction."
Of course, Burnette would like to see more immediate results, but that's just human nature.
"Youth is always frustrating," Burnette said. "As a coach, it really puts everything in perspective. I always tell the kids to trust the process — understand that the practices and weight training will lead to something. I have to apply that to coaching. All of the scrimmages, practice and offseason workouts will lead to something."
For the Rams, the next step in the process is Friday night's Bastrop Jamboree. Delhi and Richwood collide at 6 p.m., followed by Delhi Charter vs. Bastrop at 8. Tickets may be purchased at the fieldhouse for $5.
Notes: According to the Wossman marquee in front of the school, the temperature was 95 degrees when the scrimmage got underway at 5 p.m. It was significantly warmer on the turf. ... All three teams were sent to the locker room for about 20 minutes due to lightning during the second team portion of the scrimmage. ... Alex Washington was among the interested observers attending the event. Washington, Bastrop's offensive line coach the past two seasons, is now at Carroll where he prepped before going on to play for Ole Miss.