You will never catch Ferriday High head football coach Stanley Smith using the word rebuilding.
But after losing 12 seniors, Smith knows he and his staff have their work cut out in 2021.
“We’re looking at re-branding,” Smith said. “I have never had to start over at this magnitude. There are a bunch of unknowns, and we’ve got a number of no-names. It’s different, but we’re embracing it. We’ve already found a couple of diamonds in the rough. It’s a process and we’ve having to stress the basics.”
Ferriday was upset by Port Allen 22-20 in the second round of the playoffs after East Feliciana forfeited its playoff game with the Trojans because of COVID-19.
.Ferriday finished the regular season not playing its final three games because of COVID-19.
Smith has to replace quarterback Jyron Miligan, who passed for 837 yards and eight touchdowns, and running back Daminya Milligan, who finished the year with 1,110 yards rushing on 64 carries and 18 touchdowns, averaging 17.3 yards a carry and 185.0 yards a game, earning All-Parish Player of the Year honors for the second time in three years.
Smith has also been hampered after having to shut down workouts this summer twice because of COVID-19.
“We did everything possible to keep them engaged,”Smith said.
Senior Sharone Finister will be playing his first season at quarterback.
“Sharone has a lot of athletic ability and a high football IQ,” Smith said. “And he will do what it takes to win.”
Running backs are senior Jaquarius Davis and junior Chavo Thomas, who is recovering from a separated shoulder in a non-football injury this summer.
Big holes up front were left by the graduation of center Vincent Hollins guard Brondric Hawkins.
But senior Dontavious Henderson is a mammoth force up front, and is joined by returning starting center Maurice Smith, who is a sophomore. Senior Harry Ceasor and junior Hayden Davis make up the rest of the offensive line.
Senior Dylan Boxley is the top target at wide receiver.
Boxley caught nine passes for 195 yards and a touchdown last year.
Junior Jy’tavis Holmes will also be a target.
“We’re going to have to go to ground and pound this year,” Smith said.
Smith’s biggest loss may be on the defensive line with the graduation of defensive ends Blake Tarver and Khylyn Lewis.
Sophomore Amari Harbor, Henderson and Davis are on the defensive line.
Linebackers are sophomore Adien Turner, senior Kam Smith, freshman Arin Turner and sophomore Howard Curry.
Defensive backs are Finister, Holmes and Kevon Thompson.
Finister had 25 tackles, three interceptions and broke up 15 passes last season.
Ferriday will play General Trass and Vidalia in the Vidalia Jamboree Saturday in Vidalia.
This will be the first jamboree for Ferriday since 2018.
The Trojans were not invited back to the Eddie Robinson Memorial Jamboree in Grambling two years ago and were unable to find another jamboree.
Last year, the season started late because of COVID-19.