Central Private, Silliman open season Friday _lowres

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE — Silliman coach T.J. Davis talks with his players during a preseason practice.

Focusing on details can be the difference between winning or losing football games.

Silliman Institute returns a veteran team that finished 9-3 last season. Coach T.J. Davis said he wants his team focusing on one snap at a time and getting better each game.

Central Private was 2-8 last season, but coach Joey Sanchez said the Rebels have worked hard and are trying to learn how to win the close games. The Rebels lost three games last season by seven or fewer points.

Central Private opens its season by hosting Prairie View Academy of Bastrop. Silliman travels to Trinity Episcopal in Natchez, Miss. Both games at 7 p.m. Friday.

Silliman and Central Private are in the same district in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools league.

“We’ve tried to teach them how to win by what we do in practice,” said Sanchez, who is in his second season. “We’ve changed the mind-set and developed a mentality of winning.

“This first game is important and could set the tone for the season. We’re excited to be home. We know this game won’t make or break our season.”

Prairie View, which has 16 senior players, runs an option veer offense and has good size on the line. Stopping the run will be a key, Sanchez said. Central Private’s Landon Bryson (DE), Logan Ford (DL) and Hunter Todd (LB) played well in a 24-18 jamboree loss last week to Prentice Christian Academy, the No. 4-ranked MAIS Class 2A team. Central Private junior quarterback Cade Sanchez tossed two TD passes, junior Austin Slater rushed for a TD and sophomore Cole Averette scored on a 70-yard catch and run.

“We have some things to correct from the jamboree,” Sanchez said. “The kids kept playing, and I liked that. Our goal is to improve week by week. On offense we want to establish the run.”

Central Private is up to 25 varsity players and 15 junior high players. Silliman is working with more numbers and is a veteran group with 15 seniors, including quarterback Zach Kelly and running back Michael Beauchamp. Kelly has passed for 57 career TDs with more than 6,000 yards of total offense. Silliman is also big on both lines.

“We showed improvement in the jamboree from our scrimmage,” Davis said.

Silliman’s defense held two teams scoreless in abbreviated action.

“Our defense has traditionally been strong,” Davis said. “Defensive coordinator Robert Andress does a good job. We want to set the tempo up front, and our linebackers are all returnees.”

Trinity Episcopal was a playoff team last season and has a rich tradition.

“Trinity will present us some problems with their speed and athletic ability,” Davis said. “We’ve got to weather the storm and play our game.

“Our predistrict schedule is grueling. We’ll take it one game at a time, one play at time. I think this team will be special.”

Scrimmage changes

Three Friday scrimmages involving LHSAA teams have been moved to different sites.

Instead of traveling to Houma to take on H.L. Bourgeois, Dutchtown High is set to host HLB at 5:30 p.m.

Tara is now set to scrimmage Episcopal at 5:30 p.m. at Denham Springs High. The scrimmage was originally scheduled for Episcopal.

Also, Christian Life Academy’s 6 p.m. scrimmage at Bunkie has been moved to another central Louisiana site, Tioga High.