WCHS defense impressive in scrimmage against Brusly

ALLEN SPARKLES…WCHS senior linebacker Mark Allen (51) sparkled in the early stages of the varsity scrimmage last week against Brusly High. Here he nails BHS QB Jay Christophe (9) and gets his hands on the football before Marlon Reed (5) can do so.

Coming into the 2010 football season everyone who follows prep gridiron play in the area knew White Castle High would have an explosive, athletic offensive attack yet again. The question was if the Bulldog defense would improve over last year’s effort.

Last Friday the Bulldogs’ defense showed up at Brusly High for a preseason scrimmage and dominated.

“Our defense dominated and that was very pleasing. Our offense did well, but like everyone this time of year, we are far from reaching our most explosive. This was our first time in pads against an opponent and with a few adjustments before our jamboree Thursday (August 26) we should be fine,” commented WCHS Coach Ferrante Dominique after the workout in Brusly.

The WCHS first-team offense took the first 15-play series and scored. The Bulldog defense then dominated Brusly’s offense. The JV or second-team Bulldogs scored once and then stopped BHS.

Moving to “Red Zone” competition the Bulldogs tallied twice and Brusly finally scored on the last play of the workout.

Runs of 24 yards by senior quarterback and LSU commitment Ronald Martin and one of 12 yards by junior running back Tyre Bracken got the Bulldogs into the red zone on the first 15-play series. Senior receiver Shaquille Armstead grabbed a short pass from Martin to get the Bulldogs closer, but the Brusly defense stiffened, stopping three-straight WCHS running plays. Martin went to the air and found Armstead open on an angled slat round to the right side. The senior wideout took in the pass and ran through the Panther secondary for a 10-yard TD pass play.

The Bulldogs had more offensive plays remaining and struggled on consecutive center snap plays. “Ronald (Martin) was only five yards back, instead of six and that threw off our center. Just one of those things we need to work on,” explained Dominique as the Bulldogs lost 20 yards on near fumble losses by the WC QB.

It looked like the WC offense has stalled, but that would not happen. First, Bracken broke free for a 10-yard pickup off a run around end to the right. And then Armstead took a misdirection handoff to the left from his wideout slot and got around that side of the Brusly defense for a first down.

The offensive series for WC ended at that point and the first-team Brusly Panthers went on offense against the first-team Bulldog defense.

The 15-play series went badly for the Brusly club as senior Bulldog linebacker Mark Allen could not be stopped by the Panther blockers. Allen broke through on the first play and nailed first-year starting BHS QB Jay Christophe for a three-yard loss, almost ripping the ball away on the play.

“Mark Allen is going to play college football after graduation. No one works harder at improving himself,” noted Coach Dominique.

Brusly managed a pair of 5-yard runs to make up for the initial loss, but when Christophe attempted his first pass of the workout Allen was all over him forcing a hasty and bad throw. On the next play it was Allen again. He got into the BHS backfield, forced a fumble and fell on it for a turnover. Still with the ball on offense, despite the turnover, Christophe dropped back, but was immediately chased down by the WC trio of Allen, Xavier Coleman, and Armstead for a sack.

Christophe went back to the air, throwing down field to make up for the lost yardage. WC’s Martin read the play perfectly, stepped in front of the intended BHS receiver, leaped high in the air and made a one-handed, circus grab for an interception. Only halfway into their 15-play series, Brusly had lost more yardage than gained and had two turnovers.

The Panthers advanced a bit on their next three plays, thanks to a good run by Christophe and a flag on the Bulldog defense. But, again, the Bulldog defense rose up for big plays. Senior linebacker Jonathan Roberts swept in for a QB sack and then junior defensive back Terrance Taylor made a key stop. A couple of plays later Martin was called for pass interference and that provided the Panthers their only first down of the series and their time with the ball ended.

The Junior Varsity-second team units took to the field and the Bulldogs ended up scoring once and kept the Panthers out of the end zone. Backup WC QB and starting defensive back Isaac O’Bear and Tyrie Lang turned in a handful of long runs to spark the Castlemen’s attack. The Bulldog second unit scored on a 70-yard pass play from O’Bear to senior wide receiver Quincy Jones.

The two clubs closed out the workout with some “Red Zone” action. White Castle scored on a 10-yard pass from O’Bear to senior Jonathan Roberts and then on a option pitch from O’Bear to Bracken from the same distance.

“Tyre made a great move to score. Instead of diving to the end zone with a Brusly defender having the angle on him to stop him, Tyre does this spin move. It worked,” noted the WC coach.

Brusly’s offense closed out the scrimmage by finally hitting paydirt on the “Red Zone” series. The Panthers tallied on a fullback dive play after moving the ball into position.

“I was pleased with our total effort. We have only 11 or 12 linemen right now. Two are out with injuries. I decided on the second first-team series to put in some second unit offensive lineman and I was very happy with their performance. The team and the coaching staff is excited about facing Plaquemine High in the Port Allen Jamboree and we hope to make a good showing. Plaquemine is big and talented. It will be a test for us, but we will be working some in the jamboree on getting ready to face Riverside Academy in our regular season opener. I am going to try some things out in the jamboree. We shall see,” noted Dominique.