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Story Archives: Sebren optimistic about upcoming season
|Sebren optimistic about upcoming season|
The Franklin Parish Patriots take their first step in following the best football season in school history as they begin spring drills next Monday.
Franklin Parish coach Barry Sebren said the Patriots will have ten days of practice before splitting up to scrimmage each other in the Blue and White Game on Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at Patriot Stadium.
Sebren hopes the momentum built last season will carry over to another successful year on the field in 2012. After posting a record of 7-5 and winning their first playoff game since the school's consolidation in 2005, the Patriots are no longer off the radar of local teams.
"I don't think anyone is afraid of us, but I think people are seeing an improvement," Sebren said. "It's part of a process. We worked a tremendous amount of time this year with our six and seventh graders, getting them into our system. It's not about one guy; it's about getting everybody on the same page."
Including incoming eighth-graders, Sebren expects 70 to 85 players at practice on Monday. The sixth-year coach said the success of last year has created a buzz around campus, resulting in more students trying out for the team this year that may not have considered it in the past.
"We have 85 lockers, but I don't expect to keep that many players," he said. "We have some students already in the general population at our school that didn't play last year that have expressed interest in playing and I'm going to give them their shot. We'll go through spring and summer workouts and I'll make the final roster cuts sometime in August."
The Patriots have to replace two offensive weapons from last season that have now signed their skills over to college programs. All-state running back and Grambling commit Noble Johnson rushed for 1,686 rushing yards and 22 TDs a year ago. Wide receiver Henry Wesley, a first team 2-4A all-district selection in 2011, is now an Arkansas Tech Wonder Boy.
"We are going to have to fill some shoes," Sebren said. "You're always looking for the guys that you have developed as freshmen and sophomores, and even juniors. We get surprised a lot year to year when we see a player come back and just be transformed into a much better player. Sometimes it's just a year of physical maturing; sometimes it may be maturing mentally."
The Patriots, who averaged over 30 points and 400 yards per game last year, return starting quarterback Steve Williams and an offensive line that will average close to 300 pounds.
Sebren said although Johnson and Wesley were great players, neither are irreplaceable.
"We feel like we have some great players coming back on offense," Sebren said. "We may not look the same and we may have a different identity, but there will be someone that will step up and become that Noble, or that Henry. Our running backs this year are going to have a lot of speed and size."
The Patriots will have offensive guard Dekendrick Johnson back anchoring the front line. As a junior 6-2, the 315-pounder garnered all-district and all-state honors.
"Before almost every game last year I was asked by the opposing team's coaches who No. 58 (Dekendrick Johnson) was, and was he a senior," Sebren said. "When you first see him, he's massive. Then you look at him on film and he's driving people three to five yards backwards. Coaches take notice of that stuff."
"Our expectations as a team are higher this year," Sebren added. "We don't want to settle for what we did last year. We want to compete in every game. That's our goal."