The expectations are high at Ferriday High this year. But that's nothing new for a team that's come within one game of playing for the Class 2A championship the last two years.
"Our expectations are always high," said third-year Ferriday High head coach Stanley Smith, who returns six starters on offense and defense. "If we don't win a championship, it hasn't been a great year. We've gotten close, but now we're ready to kick down the door. We've had a good offseason program and changed some things up in the weight room to make us better. We played a lot of young guys last year which expands our expectations. We are still not where we want to be, but the kids understand what we expect."
Three-year starter Kobe Dillon returns at quarterback. The Trojan senior signal-caller passed for 1,678 yards and rushed for 548 more last season.
"Kobe has college potential and he understands what we want to do out there," Smith said. "He keeps people line up right. He is a heckuva an athlete."
Smith is also hoping to have returning Parish Player of they Year Da’minya Milligan back after he missed time due to a knee injury earlier this year.
Milligan finished his sophomore season with 1,572 rushing yards.
"One thing Ferriday has never had a problem with is finding a running back," Smiths said. "It may be by committee this year. Byron Milligan is coming off ACL surgery and should be ready to go. We've got a freshman, Rashard Thomas who has been a pleasant surprise."
Smith said wide receiver is Ferriday's strong point right now.
Junior Eiljah White, senior Justin Burns and junior Jyron Milligan returns, while Byron, a junior, will also play wide receiver.
"Jyron is our do-it-all, playing different positions," Smith said. "He makes plays."
The offensive line consists of Roosevelt Davis, junior Vincent Hollins, senior Keandrick Carter, Braden Hawkins, Harry Ceasor and Dontavious Henderson.
The defensive line has junior Blake Tarver, junior Kylyn Lewis, Davis, Hollins, Henderson and Anthony Searles.
Lewis had 92 tackles last season and nine sacks.
Linebackers are senior Tevyn Byrd, junior Aaron Stampley, Jamarius Jefferson and junior Kobe Johnson.
Byrd totaled 144 tackles and 13.5 tackles for losses last season.
Defensive backs are junior Fred Patrick, Byron Milligan, senior Sebastian Turner and Jyron Milligan.
Turner had 55 tackles, broke up nine tackles and collected an interception last year.
Tarver will handle the kicking, while Jyron Milligan will do the punting.
Ferriday opens the season at Alexandria and ends the year at home against Richwood.
"Our non-district schedule gears us towards the playoffs," Smith said. "We get good quality points and that type of competition prepares us for the postseason."
Ferriday opens its season at Alexandria Senior High on September 6. The Trojans host Plaquemine on Sept. 13.