Port Allen’s first taste of game action came with ups and downs, according to head coach Don Gibson.
The Pelicans hosted the White Castle Bulldogs for a scrimmage last Friday at Port Allen Middle School.
Port Allen’s defense held White Castle scoreless the entire scrimmage and Port Allen was able to get a score during the situational part of the scrimmage, which was before the running clock game.
“I saw a lot of young guys playing hard and when you got guys who haven’t been in the fight and some guys who haven’t really played some varsity football, you’re going to have some growing pains,” Gibson said. “You got guys out there, even juniors that haven’t played football in two years, even a sophomore who hasn’t played varsity football in two years.
“It was encouraging,” he added. “I thought the defense ran around real good. I thought they played with an attitude and tenacity that we need, but we made some mistakes that we need to correct. That’s understandable when you have a young football team like this.”
Throughout the game, Port Allen’s defense was consistently in the White Castle backfield disrupting plays and hitting the ball carrier.
On the offensive side, Gibson said his team needs to do a better job of handling pressure in the gaps. The Pelican quarterbacks did not have much time to throw when the White Castle defense brought the pressure.
Port Allen’s two quarterbacks vying for the starting gig, sophomore Jacoby Howard, and freshman Jeremiah Dehon made their share of plays in the game. The coach added there were also some things that were not so good from both.
“Mistakes,” he said. “It’s some young guys still out there trying to figure things out. Especially when you got a freshman who hasn’t been in this type of environment. When the speed of the game really gets it going, things kind of change a little bit for him, but he had some ups and downs. He had some good plays; he had some bad plays. It’s some things we can fix.
“I think Jacoby did a heck of a job also,” Gibson added. “There were some things that we did good that we can build on. We had some good spots, but we have to do a better job of being consistent at the quarterback position.”
Gibson and his staff took a different approach on the sidelines during the scrimmage, opting to stay on the sidelines and not be on the field coaching, like most coaches do during an exhibition matchup. The head coach said he wanted to treat the scrimmage like a regular season game to have his guys prepared for the real thing.
“This (scrimmage) is to get the kinks out,” Gibson explained. “Work on those things you need to fine tune before you jump in that jam (jamboree) part of it, so you can move into it. I treat this as if I treat a jamboree or a regular game. I tell my coaches we’re going to be off on the side, we’re not going to be on the field. We’re going to coach them when they come off the field instead of being out there. I think those things are important so we can make sure we’re ready for that game. We have two more weeks before Brusly, so we’re going to continue to push, continue to grind and see where things go from there.”
Port Allen squares off with Livonia in the jamboree Friday in Livonia, with junior varsity action set to start at 6 p.m. and varsity to follow at 7.