A change in plans will send Port Allen into preseason scrimmage action against a team the Pels have rarely faced.
PAHS will travel to Baton Rouge to face Belaire in a 6 p.m. scrimmage Friday at Belaire High School.
The Pelicans entertain Albany in the Placid Refining Jamboree on Aug. 29 at Guy Otwell Stadium.
A crowded schedule for the Live Oak High School scrimmage prompted the Pelicans to seek another preseason foe.
Port Allen coach Guy Blanchard is not sure if the Pelicans have ever tangled with Belaire, and records do not indicate it either.
“I don’t know if this is necessarily the first time, but it’s the first time in my nine years with the school,” he said.
The Pelicans face a Bengal team that hopes to dig itself out of the cellar among Baton Rouge area football teams.
Belaire finished 1-8 last season and won only three games since 2010.
The record offers the Pels no reason they should take the Bengals lightly, Blanchard said.
“We don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Right now, we want to see how we execute on every play, every punt and to see how well we move the ball.”
The Bengals utilize a spread offense and lean on the passing game, while they have used a multiple defense, Blanchard said.
The Pelicans will use the scrimmage to address the fundamentals in their performance.
“What I want to do is just see us be fundamentally and technically sound,” Blanchard said. “Right now, I want to make sure the kids completely understand their coverage, their assignments, where to be and stuff like that.
“Once we do that, we can work on perfecting things,” he said. “Right now, we’re a work in progress.”
Most of all, he wants to eliminate the mental mistakes that prove so costly during the season.
“We don’t want to see the stupid penalties and stupid mistakes,” Blanchard said. “We’re going to make sure to eliminate that.”
He hopes the Belaire game will help him gauge the progress his team has made thus far.
“Until we see the kids start against someone else, it’s tough to get a true evaluation with the kids — and that’s what’s to be expected,” he said. “Right now, I can say the defense is ahead of the offense, but we’re still having growing pains on defense.”
Sophomore quarterback Alex Hebert has made progress in his new position during the course of the summer drills, Blanchard said.
“He’s steadily getting better,” he said. “He’s improving every day and following the process — working, studying and getting better every day — and that’s all we can ask for.”
Blanchard gave high marks to junior Marcus Keyes, senior Morris Miller and senior Terrione Thomas for their leadership roles during the preseason sessions. He’s also enthusiastic about Anthony Bell’s recent efforts.
“He’s been our big surprise, doing better than expected, so we’re pleasantly surprised by him,” Blanchard said. “He’s someone who’ll really help us, maybe more than we thought.”
Blanchard also lauded Ka Ron Young, who has worked hard in practice.
“He’s a kid who’s really improving and getting better every day,” Blanchard said. “He’ll help us and should be a big part of our success.”