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Spartans look to carry momentum into summer

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension running back Avery Williams fights for yardage during the Spartans’ May 6 pracitce. Williams is the Spartans returning rushing leader.

East Ascension head coach John Lambert had two goals going into the Spartans’ intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning to conclude spring practice - get a game film and nobody gets hurt.

The Spartans got both of those and now will look to carry momentum into summer workouts.

“We will learn from that film and continue to advance the offense and defense,” Lambert said. “We had a nice crowd. Parents wanted to come out an see their kids play and everybody got a chance to.”

Saturday’s game completed spring training for East Ascension which included eight practices over three weeks.

“I certainly would have liked to have gotten in the allotted 15 just to give our kids more of a chance to hit,” Lambert said. “They are cooped up in that weight room all spring.

“We are limited. We have a lot of kids that play several sports and I encourage that. I love the fact that we are limited in the spring because of that. That is a great problem to have because that means a lot of your teams and athletes are in the playoffs.”

Senior running back Avery Williams continued to impress Lambert in workouts.

“Williams really bought into our system,” Lambert said. “He is such a powerhouse in the weight room that for him to bring that onto the practice field and eventually into a game is going to make a huge difference.”

Lambert also was delighted with the transition inside linebackers Q’Dareus Lomas and Wade Julien made after earning all-district on the defensive line last season. Others that stood out include nose guard Aaron Burns and defensive back Kadarius Williams, who got a late start after

advancing to regionals in track.

“I thought our two linebackers had a great spring learning a new position and Williams came out of track where he competed hard and brought that to the practice field,” Lambert said.

And although there is some concern with the size of the offensive line, the group’s unity impressed Lambert.

“I was particularly happy with our offensive line,” Lambert said.  “For the first time since I have been here, we don’t have a single guy over 240 pounds. We are really small but we have a solid group of guys who are functioning really well together.”

East Ascension is moving to a veer offense next season that will be directed by quarterbacks Emerson Foster and Chase Rivett.

“We have been very fortunate to be in a position with two quarterbacks,” Lambert said. “We are going to stay with that system right now and I think they are very capable of making (reads). They are both very good athletes and there is no clear cut favorite. We are going to play two quarterbacks but when they are not on the field as quarterback we are going to play them at another position somewhere. We are going to get them on the field because they are both too good of football players to have them standing behind me on the sidelines. That is all we are trying to do. Get the best 11 kids on the field.”

“Our primary reason for going to the veer is we have never had particularly big lineman. We have had success in the weight room in terms of strength but we don’t have a particularly big offensive line. This type of offense lends itself to a small offensive line. We feel like our guys can work together better than by themselves. We have powerful running backs who run straight ahead and pound you. We are going to keep it simple. Come off the football, keep your feet churning and gain three and a half yards per carry.”

East Ascension will play just one team from last season’s non-district schedule, Denham Springs, and added Sarah Reed, LaGrange, Ellender and Bonnabel.

“The majority of those schools are right around our size so they have the same number of kids,” Lambert said. “We wanted to change the schedule up a little bit and play some teams these kids don’t get to see very often.”

“If your goal is not the playoffs, you are wasting your time. You want to play for Week 11 and see if we can catch lighting in a bottle and beat some teams people don’t think we are supposed to beat. We have 80 guys on this football team and I firmly believe in what they do in the weight room. The things that we do will give us an opportunity to make the playoffs and I certainly believe we will be better than last year for no other reason than these kids want to be better and that is a huge reason for a lot of them.”