During his eight seasons as the Springfield High football coach, Ryan Serpas has led the Bulldogs to the Class 2A playoffs five times, including a semifinal berth in 2012 and a trip to the quarterfinals last year.
In the process, Serpas has seen a change in the small town where he works.
Football fever, he said, has taken hold.
“It’s the event to go to on a Friday night,” Serpas said. “Everybody talks about our football games throughout the town. It’s almost like the movie ‘Friday Night Lights’ where the community shuts down and everything is painted up, every store you go to. It’s that kind of excitement, and the kids feed off that.”
Behind their triple-option offense, the Bulldogs look to continue their recent run as Livingston Parish’s most consistent team.
But a repeat of last year’s 9-3 finish could be difficult, considering Springfield returns just 11 starters and carries only four seniors. Running back Josh Taylor, who rushed for a school-record 1,997 yards his senior year, is one of the veterans from 2014 that must be replaced.
Serpas said a talented junior class will have to provide much of the leadership this season.
“Even though we don’t have a senior-laden team, we’re not going to make any excuses,” Serpas said. “It’s just going to be a situation where it’s next man up.”
Senior Keenan Austin and junior Damariae Claiborne will be the top offensive weapons, with one to play quarterback and the other to be used as a running back.
Up front, four of five starters return on the offensive line.