With only a handful of practices, coupled with several returning starting players on the defense, one would think the defense would be ahead of the offense at this point of spring.


With only a handful of practices, coupled with several returning starting players on the defense, one would think the defense would be ahead of the offense at this point of spring.
That was exactly the case at Wampus Cat Stadium on Friday night as the Black Squad defeated the White Team, 53-37, to culminate the short spring season for the Leesville Wampus Cats.
The Black team consisted of the first and second team defenses and managed to pile up enough points through various designated formulas based on plays made against the first and second team offense (White team). After getting a look at the team in action for the first time under his guidance, head coach Jimmie Adams took away some positives.
"To be honest, we didn't even have a full two weeks of practice," Adams said. "The defense dominated the first half, but when we started getting into a rhythm offensively, we were able to move the ball in the second half. Right now, the defense is a little ahead, which is what you would expect. Those guys played really well, and to be honest, we probably won't face another defense this year as talented as ours."
With very little to show in the first half, the White team came out in the second half and began to move the ball in what Wampus Cats fans may consider unconventional compared to the team's spread offense that has piled up numerous records over the last four seasons.
Adams debuted a veer option attack toward the end of the first half, and the team moved the ball with two sustained drives in the second half — one which resulted in a touchdown and the other stalled inside the 5.
The first team took over its first possession of the second half at the Black's 39. Senior Kingsley Matthews carried the ball five straight times in the veer attack, moving to the 9. However, four straight running plays resulted in only four yards and the drive ended at the 5.
What that drive did was show the path to the endzone, which the White team would finally reach on its next drive. Taking over on the Black team's 40 in the third quarter, Matthews and senior quarterback Zack Squyres went to work on the ground. Squyres carried four times for 23 yards on the drive, while Matthews toted the rock six times for 17 yards, covering the final yard of the drive for the game's only touchdown at the 1:14 mark. Colton Honeycutt added the PAT.
"Our backs were tip-toeing a little bit in the first half, but we began to fire off the ball in the second half and we looked a lot better," Adams said. "The passing game wasn't there, but we really haven't practiced that much at all this spring."
Fans accustomed to seeing Squyres put up astronomical passing numbers can attest to Adams' summary of the offense. While he completed only 3-of-14 passes for 24 yards, he did lead the team in rushing with 98 yards on 19 carries. Matthews, who has moved from running back to receiver to linebacker back to running back in his career, added 73 yards on 16 attempts and a TD — all in the second half.
The Black Squad was led by defensive linemen Jeremiah Cross and Mason DeLapp. Both registered multiple tackles and each recorded a sack in the game. The secondary of Mason Detz, Clinton Thurman, Marshall Smith and Derrick Blackshire also played well throughout the game. Detz left the game in the second half with a injury.
"We have a lot of depth on the defense and we're going to depend on those guys a lot," Adams said of the Black Squad.
Long time defensive coodinator Robert Causey agreed and added, "For the first time in a long time, we also have a second unit in tact that will be able to move up in a year and start without missing a beat. That gives us a lot of players to move in and out during the course of a game."
The first team offense ended the game with 205 yards rushing on 47 carries, while adding 24 yards through the air. In addition to Squyres and Matthews, Lewis added 34 yards on 12 carries.
The second team offense had moderate success moving the football through the air, but struggled on the ground. The second team defense held them to 30 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Backup quarterback Dewayne Richard completed 4-of-16 passes for 52 yards and an interception. All four passes were caught by Julian Rodriguez for all 52 yards. The second team defense was paced by an interception by Justin Ramsey and a pair of sacks by Devontez Winters.
The team will begin its summer conditioning and throwing program before reconvening in August in preparation for the 2011 season. The Cats will scrimmage Captain Shreve and jamboree at home against LaGrange before opening the season at home against rivals DeRidder on Sept. 3 in the annual Hooper Trophy game.
"My favorite saying to coach by is, 'Winners are built in the off-season, but champions are built in the summer,'" Adams said. "I have faith in this team and we're looking forward to August."