Tigers, Hornets to square off
By GEOFFREY STOUTE
Morgan City High School’s quest to build on its 2011 success continues Friday with its final preseason tune up against Franklin in the St. Mary Parish Jamboree.
MCHS coach Brandon Nowlin, who is entering his third season of rebuilding the Tigers’ football team, said he is looking for more consistency from his squad on both sides of the ball.
The matchup also will give the MCHS coach his first opportunity to see his special teams in live action. It’s one aspect of the game that Nowlin said he will be watching closely.
The Tigers’ jamboree game will consist of two, 12-minute halves with no halftimes and will begin five minutes after the Berwick-West St. Mary matchup at 5:30 p.m.
The Tigers are familiar with the Hornets and coach J. Ina, who the squad faced in a preseason scrimmage two years ago and defeated in the regular season in 2011.
As for what he expects from Franklin, Nowlin said the squad plays a 3-4 defense that applies pressure.
“They play a lot of man coverage, a lot of zero coverage on defense with no safeties,” he said.
On offense, he said the Hornets line up in wing formations and also run some dive option plays and plays out of the pistol formation. Nowlin said the Hornets squad also passes the ball, something he expects more out of them this year.
“We’re going to have to stop the run first and adjust to the play action and adjust to the pass,” he said.
One advantage the Tigers do have heading into the matchup is they were able to hold a scrimmage this fall, while Nowlin said the Hornets had to cancel theirs.
The Tigers return approximately 15 players who have started at one time or another during the past two years that Nowlin has led the squad.
On offense, the squad is led by seniors, halfback Eric Walker and quarterback Hoang Nguyen. Walker rushed for 792 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011, while Nguyen completed 74 of 111 passes for 953 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions. Nguyen didn’t play the entire 2011 season as he was sidelined after suffering an injury during Week 8 against South Terrebonne.
The Tigers also return what Nowlin said is likely his most veteran-laden and consistent group on offense as three starters come back in juniors Daryl Johnson and Ben Vinning and senior Devonte Gabriel.
On defense, the squad features junior Joseph “Turtle” Jones, an all-district performer in 2011 who has been starting since his freshman year, as well as Walker in the secondary.