There was no title-game hangover for four Livonia High School players who reported for Monday’s U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl practice.
Running back Malcolm Dedrick, defensive back Diante Bridgewater, receiver Stephen Guidry and linebacker Bryce Jones all reported for practice with the Rough Riders of St. Michael the Archangel coach Paul Varnado.
“You never know about things like that, especially since they just played on Saturday,” Varnado said. “They showed up ready to go and we’re glad to have them.”
The Rough Riders and Black Knights conducted their first practice Monday at Independence Park in preparation for the annual all-star game set for Sunday at Olympia Stadium.
Players from throughout the Baton Rouge area were selected to participate in the game that dates to 2002.
Both Varnado and Black Knights coach Brett Beard of Woodlawn said they were impressed with what they saw while putting players through their paces for the time.
“We came out and stretched with them a little and got right to it,” Beard said. “We started going over things, and they didn’t miss a beat. Just about everybody came here in good shape.
“They were ready to go. I think these guys understand the significance of being able to represent their high school one last time.”
The teams will continue to practice at Independence from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.
One more time
Varnado and Beard are coaching their respective quarterbacks one last time. St. Michael’s Jeffrey Vaccaro and Catholic-Pointe Coupee’s Jonas Guichet are the quarterbacks for the Rough Riders.
Woodlawn’s Charles Brooks and Plaquemine’s D’Morea Wicks are set to quarterback the Black Knights.
“It’s great to be able to line up one last time with Charles Brooks,” Beard saud. “And then to have D’Morea too … a guy we’ve played the last two years just adds to it. I think we’ve got some talented linemen and skill players. I’d say everything points toward us being able to move the football.”
Varnado said he liked the way his quarterbacks handled the practice that included installing some offense and defense basics. There also were seven-on-seven passing drills and special teams work.
“We’ve got guys here from Livonia, Central and Zachary … really all around,” Varnado said. “It’s been great.”
Only two players had to be replaced in the days leading up to the practices — West Feliciana’s Ryan Reed and Christian Home Educator’s Fellowship’s Spencer Costa.
A concussion forced Costa, a running back-wide receiver, out of the game. Parkview Baptist’s Aaron Leonard took Costa’s roster spot for the Rough Riders.
Reed, a defensive back, was added to the list of players set to play in Saturday’s Louisiana High School Coaches Association All-Star game in Shreveport. East Feliciana’s Timothy Thompson took Reed’s spot with the Black Knights.