Franklin Parish finished 5-7 last season, losing a heartbraker to Pearl River after missing a two-point conversion for the win to finish 5-7.
Quote of the summer
“It gives the community and the kids something to be proud of. This is one of the top 10 facilities in northeast Louisiana. It makes it easier to come to work.”
Franklin Parish football coach Whitney McCartney on new football fieldhouse
Franklin Parish coach Whitney McCartney has had all offseason to mull over coming within a two-point conversion of upsetting Pearl River in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
The Patriots scored with three minutes remaining to pull to within 21-20 but the two-point conversion failed.
McCartney must replace eight starters on offense and seven on defense.
“I’m not saying we are starting over, but we are going to have to be patient,” McCartney said. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we have to overcome those mistakes. One thing we have stressed since the spring is not turning the ball over.”
For the first time in three years, LT Major will not be behind center for the Patriots. Junior Jalen Heckard steps in as signal-caller.
“Jalen is not a natural thrower, but he’s been working hard and has really improved from the spring,” McCartney said.
Senior Greg Bailey is the B back, while junior Keon Washington, junior Michael Cooks and sophomore Tyrell Richardson are the running back.
Sophomore AJ Ward leads the receiving group.
The offensive line consists of seniors Elijah Ward, Sam Parker at center, Davion Hackney and Trey Middleton.
Sophomore Rishard Boley will also be up front.
Sophomore Eli Gray is at tight end.
Defensively, senior defensive tackle Ravoyon Johnson and defensive back Troy Meadows lead the Patriots.
“Ravoyon went up a tremendous amount in his weight lifts and has been a leader for us,” McCartney said. “He’s full speed on every rep. He’s going to have a breakout year.”
Sophomore Mario Whitley will be at defensive end. Sophomore Ta’mairon Young will also be on the line along with junior Matthew Vice.
Linebackers include junior Terrance Richardson, sophomores Josh Kemp and Jacob Caldwell.
Defensive backs are senior Troy Meadows, senior Jadarius Mosely, sophomores Dylan Hackney, Malik Drake and Demetric Whitlock.
“Troy is getting a lot of looks from colleges,”McCartney said. “He has developed tremendously over the offseason. We will be using him in a lot of ways.”
Kemp will handle the kicking, along with freshman Bryce Curtis.
At what first looked to be a confusing 10-team district turned into a 3-team district when schools under the first LHSAA re-district plan voiced their displeasure. Franklin Parish will now compete in District 4-2A with Bastrop and Neville in one of two new 4-2A districts.
The Rams lost several seniors from last year, but Neville once again is expected to advance deep into the playoffs.