By Daniel Simmons
This past Friday evening, the Winnfield Tiger football team traveled over to St. Mary’s School in Natchitoches to participate in a three-way scrimmage with the Tigers of St. Mary’s and the Cougars from Grant High School. Scrimmages are similar to 7-on-7s in that they are not official contests, score is not kept, they are just a form of extra practice against other teams. However, scrimmages look much more similar to a real game, as it is 11-on-11 with players dressed in full pads.
The teams battled through punishing extreme heat, and as one could imagine, the grass was bone-dry due to the exceptional drought. This scrimmage gave new meaning to the phrase “Three yards and a cloud of dust.” Between both sides of the ball, the hometown Tigers played a total of about 70 snaps, with the varsity starters playing about 2/3 of the snaps, and the JV getting the other 1/3. St. Mary’s and Grant faced off first, then Winnfield played against Grant, then Winnfield faced St. Mary’s to end the night. Highlights of the evening for the Tigers included a touchdown pass from Damascus Lewis to Jaylen Givens, and an interception in the end zone by Breylan Starks.
“I’m pleased with the boys’ efforts,” said WSHS head coach Jay Watson. “However, we looked just like a team with 20 new starters in their first live scrimmage. We have a long way to go before we’re a good football team but the coaches and players are working hard each day. We gave up some big plays in the passing game Friday night. Some were due to the secondary not communicating effectively and some were due to the breakdown of contain of the QB on the sprint out game. I felt like our offense moved the ball well and executed some parts of the offense well. We will continue to evaluate players and different personnel groupings moving forward to give us the best chance to be successful. We told the kids after the game that if we had not played hard or had not been hustling or just gotten beat up and pushed around I’d be really worried. That was not the case, I feel that the things we looked bad at can be corrected.”
In other WSHS football news, the team held its annual Ironman competition this past offseason.
The Ironman competition is comprised of 8 events. (Bench Press, Squat, Hang Clean, 40-yard dash, Pro Shuttle, Vertical Jump, Medicine Ball Run, and Leg Test.) The athlete with the best mark in each event is given a score of 1 and the second best is awarded the score of 2 and so on. At the conclusion of all 8 events, all scores are tallied and the athlete with the lowest score (like golf) is named the Ironman for the Spring. It is a competition that involves Strength, Speed and Endurance. The following are the point totals for this year’s Ironman competition. The top eleven athletes are recognized and the lowest score is the WSHS Ironman.
These are the top 11 finishers for Ironman 2023! L to R: Jaylen Givens, Dyson Combs, Jaterion Hobdy, Payton Shelton, Ryan Davis, Eli Little, Jake Jones, John Michael Pickett, Josh Hayes, Damascus Lewis Kneeling: 2023 Ironman, Henry Craig
This Friday, the Tigers will head up to the community of Cadeville, home of West Ouachita High School, where the Tigers will face the West Ouachita Chiefs in the Jamboree. Friday’s high air temperature should near 110 degrees, and the Chiefs’ home field is artificial turf. When the sun is out, these two factors should work together to make the on-field temperatures soar to levels most of the players have likely never experienced before. As such, the start time has been moved back to 7 PM, in order to play in slightly cooler weather with more shade. The JV will start things off at 7, and the varsity will follow about 20 minutes later.