Coming off of a 9-3 campaign, the St. Frederick Warriors are aiming for sustained success in 2019.
Eleven starters (6 offense, 5 defense) return from a team which knocked off three longtime nemesis — Ouachita Christian, Mangham and Cedar Creek — in their first season under coach Andy Robinson.
“We had an awesome year,” Robinson said. “We did some things that haven’t been done here in a while. Hopefully, we can build on that.”
While there are holes to fill, a solid foundation is in place.
“We have a good nucleus of players. We are excited about the season,” Robinson said.
Wide receiver/defensive back Pat Johnson and middle linebacker Gordon Bennett, along with the addition of defensive end Denterrius McHenry are among the Warriors’ building blocks. All three have attracted recruiting interest.
“We have probably had 20-plus (college coaches) come through here in the spring, which is good for the school, the kids and the team,” said Robinson, a former Louisiana Tech assistant. “We haven’t had signing day around here in a long time. This is something new for us. It’s a credit to the guys and their families, with academics being a big part of it. They have definitely handled it on that end.”
McHenry was a five-time All-District 2-4A honoree (three times in football, twice in basketball) at Bastrop prior to joining the Warriors three weeks ago. He is making his way back from a Week 9 ankle injury, which caused him to miss the Rams’ final four football playoff games and the entire basketball season.
Another key holdover is versatile Will Ellender, who recently won the Class 1A state championship in the 1600-meter run. Besides starting at wide receiver and free safety, Ellender was the first-team All-District 2-1A punter.
“Will is one of those throwback kids which you have to have at this level. He can just play ball,” Robinson said. “Obviously, he does a lot for us in the kicking game.”
Playing two positions is the norm at St. Fred.
“We practice our kids both ways,” Robinson said. “It takes a little longer, but that’s how we create depth.”
The Warriors have a new quarterback as Alex Reitzell succeeds Andrew Williams. Reitzell started the Bayou Jamb and took snaps in several games as a sophomore.
Robinson enters his second year at the helm with his coaching staff intact.
“We’re fortunate to have some really good coaches,” Robinson said. “Billy Bell and Scott Lee have a ton of experience. Both of those guys have been around northeast Louisiana football for a long time.”
St. Fred held eight spring practices, but canceled its plans for a spring game due to the threat of severe weather.
With camp behind them, the Warriors enter the all-important summer phase.
“We have to identify our weaknesses and work on them over the summer,” Robinson said. “We have to get bigger, faster and stronger for the fall. We’re going to be here all summer. We have a lot to work on. Conditioning is a big issue for us with so many guys going both ways. You have to have a strong body and a strong mind, and it all comes down to preparation. We have to put the time in now to reap the benefits come fall.”
In the first of three preseason appearances, St. Fred will line up against Delhi Charter in the officials scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 9 at West Monroe. A week later, Caldwell, Carroll and Delhi Charter will join the Warriors for a four-way scrimmage at Chip Luffey Field. Closing out preseason play in the Bayou Jamb at ULM, St. Fred is paired against Jonesboro-Hodge.
In addition, Robinson says he is in the process of putting together a 10-team junior high jamboree to be played at St. Fred.
2019 ST. FREDERICK SCHEDULE
Sept. 5 D’Arbonne Woods (Thurs.)
Sept. 13 Mangham
Sept. 20. Beekman Charter
Sept. 27. Tensas* (HC)
Oct. 4 Oak Grove*
Oct. 11 at Sicily Island*
Oct. 18 at Cedar Creek*
Oct. 25 Delta Charter*
Oct. 31 at Ouachita Christian* (Thurs.)
Nov. 7. Delhi* (Thurs.)