Griffins showing progression during the spring
The Dutchtown Griffin football team is back to work.
Dutchtown began their spring practice last week, and third-year head coach Guy Mistretta has continued to see improvement from his team,
“We’ve gotten better every day, and we haven’t had any injuries. Those are the two things that you hope for, so from that standpoint, things have gone well," Mistretta said. "We’re starting to figure out roster positions.
"We started with everyone having two positions—which we haven’t done in the past. We just wanted to get a good look at them—especially with our new coaches. We’re starting to finalize that and know where our guys are gonna be, and we’re starting to work on the depth chart."
The Griffins got off to a 3-2 start in 2018, and went ahead of East Ascension in their sixth game, when all-everything player Jordan Jackson went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury.
Jackson, a Nicholls signee, had six interceptions on defense before he was injured, was a big-pay threat on offense and was also an explosive punt returner for the Griffins.
Dutchtown ended up losing to the Spartans. In all, they went 2-3 in their final five contests, and then lost their opening-round playoff game.
The good news is that a Griffin defense that was already strong in 2018 returns most of its starters.
"Defensively, we’re ahead right now, which we expected. We return nine starters on that side of the ball," Mistretta said. "Offensively, we return a bunch, but we have some starters out right now that we’re holding out as a precaution. So, it’s a little slower on that side of the ball, but I think we’re continuing to get better, and that’s the most important thing.”
The biggest question mark on the offense is the quarterback position. Dutchtown lost starting QB Drelon Monroe and his backup Grant Arnet.
“We have four guys that are getting equal reps right now," Mistretta said. "We’ll do that until at least through June, and then we’ll gear up for the season. But for right now, we’ve got two sophomores and two seniors going at it. We're just gonna let it play out."
The four players duking it out for the open QB spot are seniors Brayden Fritsche and Stephen Winfield, Jr, and sophomores Sean Winfield and Tanner Vadnais.
Dutchtown will be without Jackson, as well as all-district receiver and kick returner Terry Matthews. But there are still plenty of talented players on the roster that have impressed Mistretta so far this spring.
“Johmel Jolla is having a really good spring on the defensive side, also Logan Scott and Deldrick Jones," Mistretta said. "Offensively, our running backs are looking good—Blayden Louis and Dylan Sampson. Another guy on that side of the ball that has been a leader for us is our tight end/H-Back Jadyn McKinney.”
Jolla, Scott, Louis and McKinney were all-district selections in 2018.
Dutchtown also returns two all-district offensive linemen in Riley Lawrence and Carter Landry. However, they're being held out of spring as a precaution, to keep them healthy for the summer.
When Lawrence and Landry return, it will be easier for Mistretta to determine what will be the strength of his 2019 squad. Right now, the defense is looking impressive.
“I think the defense can be a big strength for us," Mistretta said. "When we get our offensive line back healthy, that’s when it’ll be interesting to see what they’re doing against each other. Right now, we’re kind of out-manned up front, which affects everybody.
"We have two all-district players up front that we’re holding out of contact. When we get them back, it’ll be nice to see how they match up with our defensive line in August.”