The Sterlington Panthers opened preseason camp with a two-hour workout Monday morning.
Sterlington opened preseason camp Monday morning with Picture Day, followed by a two-hour practice in shorts and helmets.
"It's that time of the year where you want to see how much the weight room stuff transitions to the field, if any," Sterlington coach Lee Doty said. "You want them to show that it has transitioned over to the field as a player. For the most part, it did today, but we have a long way to go."
Sterlington opens regular season play at home vs. West Ouachita on Friday, Aug. 31.
"For us to be prepared to play West Ouachita, every rep has to count, every second on the (practice) schedule has to be taken advantage of," Doty said.
Predictably, there are some kinks to be worked out following the loss of 15 starters from last year's 12-1 Class 3A state quarterfinalist.
"We're not caught by surprise," Doty said. "Our kids understand it. They seemed to be bought in today. If they continue to do that, I think we'll get there."
Doty says the real test will come later in the week.
"Everybody was fresh today," said Doty, whose team returned Monday after taking a week off. "About Thursday is when they'll be getting tired, and we'll see what some of these guys are made of. But, I think it was a good start."
Sterlington has major holes to fill on the defensive side after the loss of all three starting linebackers, including Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year Dawson Snell, and two All-District 2-3A linemen.
Jordan Townsend, Willie Holloway, Tyler Kaffenberger, Seth Temple and Luke Taylor are vying for playing time at linebacker.
At this juncture, it's still too early to evaluate the defense.
"Defensively, we're trying to install our base stuff — coverages and those type of things," Doty said. "Until we get in pads, it's hard to see how we are going to be. I'm anxious to see how we run to the football and how we tackle."
Despite the loss of tailback Austin Dupree, the District 2-3A Offensive MVP, the Panthers are deep at running back. Dallas Reagor, who made a splash while filling in for the injured Dupree, is the top returning rusher. C.J. Colvin and Malik Davis both return after basically missing the entire 2017 season with injuries.
Sophomore Brody Green and junior transfer Hayes Crockett are the top candidates to succeed two-year starter Carson Clowers at quarterback.
Tackle Trey Rugg and guard Jack Anderson will be joined up front by a trio of first-year starters.
"Offensively, I am anxious to see if our line is going to live up to the potential they have," Doty said. "I think all of that will be answered in the next couple of weeks."
Sterlington spent a portion of Monday's practice on punting and punt coverage.
"For me, that's Job 1 — special teams, especially punt team," Doty said. "A blocked punt or a returned punt for a touchdown can demoralize you. I wanted to install that the first day so maybe our kids will understand how important it is. I was glad to see some retention, which should put us ahead of the game this summer."
Sterlington will scrimmage Cedar Creek at the Panthers' Den on Thursday, Aug. 16 before closing out preseason play vs. Bastrop in the Bayou Jamb at ULM on Friday, Aug. 24.
BAYOU JAMB SCHEDULE
Friday, Aug. 24
St. Frederick vs. Jonesboro-Hodge, 6 p.m.
Sterlington vs. Bastrop, 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 25
Jena vs. Ouachita Christian, 1 p.m.
Mangham vs. Oak Grove, 3 p.m.
Ouachita vs. Ruston, 5 p.m.
Neville vs. West Monroe, 7 p.m.
STERLINGTON VARSITY SCHEDULE
Aug. 31 West Ouachita
Sept. 7 at Ouachita Christian
Sept. 14 at Oak Grove
Sept. 21 Loyola
Sept. 28 Calvary Baptist
Oct. 5 at Carroll*
Oct. 12 Wossman* (HC)
Oct. 19 at Madison Parish*
Oct. 26 at Union Parish*
Nov. 1 Richwood* (Thurs.)
All game times 7 p.m.
STERLINGTON JV SCHEDULE
Aug. 23 SHS Jamboree (OCS)
(7th, 8th, JV)
Aug. 27 Wossman
Sept. 4 at West Ouachita
Sept. 10 Union Parish
Sept. 17 at Cedar Creek
Sept. 24 Oak Grove
Oct. 1 at Wossman
Oct 15 at Bastrop
Oct. 22 at OCS
All game times 6 p.m.