Thursday, May 23, 2013

Post-Spring, Pre-Fall Football Forecast: Captain Shreve Edition

Our preseason tour of high school football heads toward East King's Highway and the Captain Shreve Gators. Named for the city of Shreveport's forefather, Henry Miller Shreve, the Gators hope to avoid a logjam in District 1-5A play in 2013.

Richard Lary entering 5th Season
Shreve head coach, Richard Lary has one of the best players at his position in the area... Punter, Andrew Doughty.  Doughty averaged 40.2 yards per punt last season, buoyed by a booming night in the Byrd game where he had six punts that covered over 300 yards for a 51.2 yard average. 

The good news for Coach Lary is:

  • Doughty is a weapon who can flip the field with one thunderboom
The bad news for Coach Lary is:
  • Doughty had too many opportunities to show off his skills last year
Coach joined us on the show Wednesday to discuss all things Shreve-related, including his teams' maturation. The first year Richard Lary paced the sidelines for the green and yellow, he had several seniors to lean on. They produced a 6-5 overall mark, 4-3 in league play and participated in the 5A playoffs. Since then, the number of seniors lacing up for the Gators has dwindled, taking the win total down alongside:
  • 2010: 16 Seniors
    • 3-7 Overall Record
    • 1-6 District Record
  • 2011: 17 Seniors
    • 4-6 Overall Record
    • 1-4 District Record
  • 2012: 18 Seniors
    • 4-6 Overall Record
    • 1-4 District Record
But there is hope in 2013! Lary and his staff will have over 30 seniors to work with, including some talented skill position players on the defensive side of the ball that are bright blips on the college recruiting radar.

Heading up a defense that should keep the Gators in contention
Santos Ramirez is drawing plenty of D1 attention
throughout the year, is senior defensive back,
Santos Ramirez. Playing cornerback last year, the 6'2", 170 pounder was the team's third-leading tackler with 79 and also picked off four passes. This year, Ramirez is expected to take on a larger role in the squad's game plan.  Shawn Stanford moves from linebacker to the secondary, giving the deep level of the Gators defense another quick, sound tackler.  Fellow senior, Derek Mosely gives Shreve three elder statesmen among their four DB's, with junior Taireek Anderson rounding out the unit.

Shreve has featured some beef along the offensive and defensive lines over the years and the 2013 crew will not break the string.  Louis Frazier, Kevin Chevalier, Kyle Prest and Anthony Perkins bring over 1,150 pounds of man-moving meat to the line of scrimmage.  That's something to get a bevy of talented ball-carriers excited.

Senior signal-caller Eric Mosely's 2012 season ended with a fractured ankle four games into the campaign.  The 6'1", 175 pound dual-threat quarterback showed signs of success before the injury and gives the Gators a tested veteran to take the reins right out of the chute. 

It was difficult at times to keep up with the Shreve ball-carriers last year---not necessarily by the opposing defense---but the spectators who were put through the wringer searching the roster for Who-Was-Who" toting the note. Eighteen different players recorded a rushing statistic in 2012. EIGHTEEN DIFFERENT PLAYERS carried the ball at least once! That number should drop this year and the production should rise.  Damian Johnson is slight in size at 5'4" and 160 pounds but he managed to gain nearly 300 yards as a wingback last year. All-name first teamer, Courvosier Haley has a chance to stand out in 2013.  As smooth as his given name, Courvosier ran for 101 yards last year against a very good Airline Viking defense. Shemaria Lewis, Quincy Perkins and Brandon Smith will also have multiple shots at becoming the Gator's Ground-Attack kingpin.

Shreve's enemy this year will indeed BE their enemies. Lumped into the loaded 1-5A District, the Gators will need to hit the league portion of the schedule with confidence and clear-cut leaders on both sides of the ball.  
Don't Mock (Turtleneck) Me!

The first three games feature more bus miles than their remaining seven contests combined, with road trips to: Pineville, Northwood and Mansfield.  The Gators final two pre-district tune-ups come at home against Dutchtown and Ruston.  The three favorites in district play also happen to be the first three up for Shreve in 1-5A play... hosting Parkway, "at" Byrd and then welcoming Haughton.  Now you see why it's important for the Gators confidence to be sky-high in preparation for the "real" games.  A trip across the river to Airline is followed by a regular season finale at Lee Hedges against Southwood.  Gazing into the crystal pigskin, I see a third straight 4-6 season for the Gators with a 1-4 mark in district play.  Of course---like a Kardashian Dating Planner, there could be alterations...

Swing Games:
  • Non-District Games
    • Pineville
    • Northwood
    • Ruston
  • District Games
    • Byrd
    • Airline
    • Southwood
Facing 1-4A favorite, Northwood in week two, I have the Falcons pegged to win this one--but Shreve's strength is their secondary.  They may be one of the few that can match Northwood's athleticism at wide receiver with similar athletes in the defensive backfield.  Taking on Ruston between the "Hedges" could bring out the best and the beast in Shreve.  If Lary's lads can muscle out wins in those two games, the 4-6 prediction is out the window.  


In league play, the rivalry game against Byrd has been out of control the last couple of years in favor of the Yellowjackets. This should be a much closer contest between two of the more active schools in the city. Airline ran roughshod over the Gators last year and will host Shreve this year.  But Hayden Hildebrand isn't pulling the trigger for the Vikings this time around. However, Shreve's offensive line will have their hands full with Mr. O.J. Smith and company in the trenches.  It will take a yeoman effort against both Byrd and Airline to be within striking distance in the fourth quarter---but remember, Shreve has special weapon in Doughty who could be a difference maker in terms of field position.  The finale with the Cowboys could truly be the make-or-break .500 game for the Gators... if there is a playoff bid and/or winning record on the line for Shreve, I expect a larger number under the Shreve tally-taker on the scoreboard.