As Cedric Anderson enters his sixth season as head football coach at East Feliciana, he’s approaching it with a poker face.
Anderson isn’t quite ready to reveal all of his cards until the season begins, perhaps because he’s still somewhat uncertain about the hand he’s been dealt.
“We’ll be competitive at most positions, but we’re a little thin,” said Anderson. “Every year I look for people to step up and play. I like what I’ve seen so far, but I haven’t seen them against competition yet.”
Anderson’s squad had a great season last year. It finished tied for first in District 6-2A but lost to Northeast in the regular-season finale for the district title. The Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs with wins over Lakeview and Oakdale, but again fell to Northeast, 14-12, ending the season with a 9-4 mark.
Anderson’s offense will feature multiple sets, including I-formation, pro and spread formations, and returns four starters, although a number of players have seen significant game action. He will rely on returning all-district linemen Travontae Booker, Darius Davis and David Odendahl up front. Junior Kevon Moore will be the starting quarterback with senior Chris Chaney and junior Lesley Taylor carrying the load at running back. The receiving corps is headed by headed by Jakalon Keller and Justin Beckwith, brother of former East Feliciana player and current LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith.
“Our strength will probably be our offensive line,” said Anderson. “We have good size, but it depends on remaining healthy throughout the season. Our speed is pretty good and I’m looking for some seniors to step up and show leadership for the younger players.”
The defense returns five starters and will rely on a base 4-3 and again will be coached by Michael Odendahl. The defensive line will be big and powerful. High expectations come with Carven Young Jr. at linebacker, and Truman Seymore Jr. and TreDarius Carr at defensive back.
“Depth might be a weakness because we don’t have the luxury of having three-deep at key positions,” said Anderson. “We could be one injury away from disaster with some people; hopefully there will be no major injuries. But there are always players who will surprise me who will fill key spots for us if someone is hurt.”
East Feliciana has a rugged schedule for nondistrict games, opening at home against West Feliciana, then facing Ruston on the road and Jewel Sumner at home. The district slate includes Episcopal, Madison Prep, Dunham, Christian Life, Mentorship Academy, Capitol and Northeast.
“Each week we have to step up to play or we can be beaten. Our league is very competitive,” said Anderson. “I’m looking forward to just seeing my team. Most of them have been with me for four years. Our fans can expect some great effort, good sportsmanship and hopefully good execution of plays. And they can have fun, because it’s still a game.”