Plaquemine Green Devils are off to a successful start to their 2017-18 football campaign after a successful 10-day spring practice capped off with a dominant spring game performance against Avoyelles High.
According to head coach Paul Distefano, the Devils have never had so many students participate in spring practice as they had this season.
“Our numbers are higher than ever,” Distefano said. “We were only able to dress three or four incoming freshmen.”
In the past, Distefano and his crew have had to roam the hallways in an effort to encourage incoming freshmen to don some pads and try out for the team. This year, some students were doubled-up in some of the 90 lockers in the PHS locker room.
“This is a good problem to have,” Distefano added.
The Devils rolled over the visiting Avoyelles team after finding the end zone 12 separate times. Avoyelles scored just once in the spring game.
“We have more depth than ever, offensively and defensively,” Distefano said. “It’s going to come down to which kids commit to the summer and which ones work hard in the summer.”
A few familiar faces performed well for the Devils in the spring game, including speedster Wayne Toussant, who scored twice, and Michael Sproles, who found the end zone on three occasions. Both players are returning for their senior seasons and will fill in key roles for success on the offense, and Toussant is expected to play defensive back and special teams as well. Sproles will be used as a hybrid player of sorts and will run the ball and fill in at slot receiver.
Other players that performed well for Distefano in the spring game were Cody Willis, Andre Riley and Henry Spriggs. Freshman slot back Melvin McClay scored twice for the Devils and Herb Thomas took the helm at starting quarterback. Distefano expects Thomas to be the team’s starting offensive leader this season.
Outgoing senior and future LSU Tiger Todd Harris will be replaced by standout Percy Butler at free safety, who received an offer from Southern Mississippi. Nelson Jenkins, Thomas Powers and Brian Jones will each also return to starting defensive roles. Third year starting linebacker Leeland Williams will make a switch to offense this season as a running back for the Devils.
Players making up the stout offensive line are: O’Darious Jackson, who played LB as a freshman and DL as a sophomore, Javonte Green, first year starter, Marquise Brown and Christian Jenkins at starting guards and junior Zayien Bouvay will fill in the gap left behind from outgoing senior Abraham Delphin at center. Andre Hebert will play a backup OL role.
Donning starting defensive positions are Tyrese Druel, Jakobe Royal and Jakobe Thomas on the line with Keldrick Deggs and Herman Christophe at inside linebacker.
This year, the Devils’ practices were highlighted in the annual Super Chevy Spotlight, and were given a $250 donation toward the program. SCS also compiled a video of this year’s practices which can be viewed on the Super Chevy Spotlight YouTube channel.
Throughout the rest of the summer, Distefano plans to host a 7-on-7 tournament through the month of June in an effort to work on offensive and defensive skills with other area teams.
Participating teams, including PHS, are: East Iberville, White Castle, Port Allen, Livonia, Donaldsonville and McKinley.
“The thing I like most is that it’s competition,” Distefano said “It puts us in situations where we are either trying to win a game at the last minute or stop the opposing team from scoring in the last minute. Competition brings out the best in everybody.”
Plaquemine High finished 9-4 last season and were 5-0 in district play. They claimed their fourth straight District 6-4A Championship and advanced as far as the quarterfinals in 2016.