The Black Knights and Rough Riders went through their final practice Thursday at Independence Park in preparation for the U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl, set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Denham Springs High School.
St. Amant coach David Oliver is the head coach of the Black Knights all-star team, and he said he’s enjoyed getting to know players from other Ascension Parish high schools who will play for him. St. Amant has four players, East Ascension three and Dutchtown two in the game.
Players for St. Amant include defensive backs Gabriel Richards and Jacob Morales, running back Trey Washington and offensive lineman Dustin Nickens. Players from EAHS include defensive back Vance Grayson, defensive lineman Devon Gipson and tight end Devin Speligene. Mississippi State football commitment Shelby Christy, a receiver, and defensive back Chris Collins are the players from Dutchtown.
“East Ascension is our biggest rival, but we’ve found once they put that different color of their school behind them, that the guys are a lot alike,” Oliver said. “They’re all good, hard-working kids. This is the best of the best. In fact, I texted East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois Wednesday and complimented him that his kids were doing a great job.”
Kelly makes history
Wide receiver Cobb Kelly of Clinton-based Silliman is the first player from a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools to compete in the Red Stick Bowl, which is in its 11th year.
“It’s been fun,” said Cobb, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder. “The playcalling is different than I’m used to, but I’ve picked it up. They’re moving me around some. All three quarterbacks have thrown the ball well in practice.”
Quarterbacks for the Black Knights in their spread offense include Lutcher’s Ruston Matherne, Southern Lab’s Deonte Shorts and Brusly’s Jay Christophe, who will run a wildcat package.
“Cobb Kelly is a tall rangy guy and a good receiver,” Oliver said. “Kyle Hawkins of Catholic High of Pointe Coupee has looked good for us at linebacker.
“Both of those guys are strong competitors. Everybody is figuring out it doesn’t matter how many A’s are behind a school’s name. There are good football players at every level.”
College scouts take notice
College scouts from several schools have been visible at the practices.
Schools represented include Delta State, McNeese State, Grambling, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, North Texas State, Mississippi College and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“This game is a good chance for a player to get noticed,” Black Knights coordinator Fred Allen said. “Some players have received their first offers after this game. Others have increased their stock. In 2002, St. Helena Central’s Stanley Doughty had an offer from a Division II school coming into the game and got an offer from South Carolina afterwards.”
Denham’s Lawson versatile
Denham Springs lineman Tevin Lawson (6-5, 280 pounds) is an LSU football commitment and projects as a defensive tackle. For the Rough Riders, he’ll play offensive tackle, defensive end and fullback in goal-line situations.
“I’m enjoying playing fullback,” said Lawson. “I played defensive tackle in high school, so it’s interesting moving to defensive end. I’m picking up some things I’ll use on the next level. It’s nice to end my career at home at Denham.”
“I don’t know how many carries Tevin will get for us, but he’s definitely a load,” Rough Riders coach Guy Blanchard said.
Baker’s Curtis achieves goal
Linebacker Rashaun Curtis of Baker set a goal four years ago.
“When I was a freshman, a player at Baker played in this game, and I set a goal to play in it myself,” said Baker. “I’m having fun.”
A middle linebacker and running back for Baker, Curtis has moved to outside linebacker in the 4-3 defense.
“There is more pass coverage responsibilities for me in this defense than I’m used to, but I’m picking it up,” he said.
Both teams will attend a breakfast Saturday. In a random drawing, one player from each team will win a $1,000 academic scholarship. …The game ball will be delivered from 16,000 feet by U.S. Army parachutists. …The Port Allen band will perform at halftime.