SPRING FOOTBALL: Griffins display effort, attitude in spring

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown running back Effrem Reed cuts up field during an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning. Reed is the Griffins’ returning rushing leader.

GEISMAR – Some players were playing out of position during Dutchtown’s final spring intrasquad scrimmage Saturday morning, but Griffin head coach Benny Saia liked the position the team was in as far as effort and attitude.

“It went fine,” Saia said. “Anytime you intrasquad, if your offense does good, you worry about your defense. If your defense does good, you worry about your offense. It is hard to measure because you don’t know if the other side of the ball is weak or if you are strong on the side you are looking at. I was real pleased with the guys’ attitude and the way they worked and finished.”

Saturday’s scrimmage completed spring training which included eight practices over three weeks.

“We would have liked to have gotten 10 or 11 in but with the baseball team’s success and the weather it is hard at this time of the year,” Saia said. “I thought we got better as the spring went on. There are a lot of young kids out there for the first time.”

“In eight days, you don’t get a whole lot of chance to evaluate. We started from scratch and tried to get to a point where we could go into the summer strong.”

Junior running back Effrem Reed took most of the snaps Saturday in the absence of quarterback Leon Blouin who was busy with the Griffins Class 5A baseball semifinal game. Saia was also impressed with wide receiver Jamon Stanton and sophomore quarterback Evan Maccoichi.

“I think Leon has all the tools,” Saia said. “Mentally, whether or not he is capable, we will find out. He is a big, strong kid that runs well. He has a strong arm and can do a lot of things for us but he has to grow up and be a quarterback. It is more than just taking the snap. You have to be a leader and become responsible for the offense. Those are things you hate to miss in spring because that starts the process. We have to move on and have a good summer with him under center.”

The Griffins return just one starter on the offensive line. Junior running back Thaddeus Godfrey and sophomore running back Troy Lewis, another baseball player, are expected to help fill holes left by all-district running backs Eddie Lacy and Kelvin York, both college signees.

“We had five kids in baseball that we think can contribute,” Saia said. “They will help when they get back. I think we will be OK in the skill spots. We have to develop an offensive line. We have just one starter back on the offensive line and we just have two starters back on offense all together.

“We don’t have Eddie and Kelvin. They were a perfect fit for the Power-I but we don’t have them anymore, so we have to adjust what we do. We will run a little option and be more Wing-T oriented. Hopefully we will throw the ball around a little bit more than we have in the past to try and spread the field. Be more diverse.”

LSU commitment, senior strong safety Eric Reid did not practice this spring after minor shoulder surgery but returning defensive backs Marcus Godfrey and Jonathan Darville made a presence.

“Defensively, I feel our secondary will be our strong suit. It is a rebuilding year for us anyway you look at. The way I look at it is that I think we have kids there that can play. They just don’t have any experience.”

Dutchtown will play just one team from last season’s non-district schedule, West Jefferson, and have added Class 3A state champion Lutcher, Thibodaux, St. John and Parkview Baptist to go with a rearranged district schedule that included two-time defending Class 5A state champion Destrehan.

“I would like to say I made that schedule to make us better but to be quite honest nobody would play us,” Saia said. “That is who would play us. We will definitely be challenged. There are two state champions on our schedule and several district champions. It is not an easy schedule. Our kids have to understand that we have to try to get better from day to day and week to week.

“Our record may not be where we want it to be at the end but we can still be a pretty good football team and ready for the playoffs. It will not be deceiving. Whatever it is, it will be against quality opponents and that will help us in the long run.”

Dutchtown's Thaddeus Godfrey rushes.