LEESVILLE — For 12 years, Robbie Causey patrolled the sidelines as an assistant coach of the Leesville Wampus Cat football team.
He remembers those years fondly, the

LEESVILLE — For 12 years, Robbie Causey patrolled the sidelines as an assistant coach of the Leesville Wampus Cat football team.

He remembers those years fondly, the players he coached and their intensity.

After a five-year hiatus, which saw him enter into the administrative field of education as an assistant principal and principal at Leesville Junior High School, Causey is back on the sidelines with the Wampus Cats, but now as the head coach.

“It's almost like I had never left,” Causey said. “But as the head coach of the team, it's always very interesting in trying to budget the time I have with them. Fortunately, I have a great, great staff of coaches with me. They make my job a lot easier.”

During his prior 12 years with the Wampus Cats, Causey was known for being one of the most intense people on the field. He coached with a high-level of passion and intensity, watching that rub off on his players.

He is aiming to do that once again with the Wampus Cats.

“I am an intense guy and people know that about me,” Causey said. “I coach with a lot of passion and I want my kids to play with that same kind of passion and intensity.

“We have to practice with that kind of intensity and play with the same kind of intensity,” he added. “And our players have really been buying into it so far and they have been very accepting of me and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.”

Causey is aiming to have his players to not only play with intensity, but to be extremely physical as well. It will take a little time to develop the physical play with intense work in the weight room, so Causey has a few things up his sleeve to get his best players the ball on offense.

“We are going to run the same kind of offense we've been running here for the past few years,” he said. “But we are going to emphasize getting the ball to our skill players by using different and multiple formations. You never know where or how we will line up because we don't want to be predictable and we have plenty of kids who are capable of making plays.”

Perhaps the most athletic of these players is senior running back Cory McCoy. McCoy rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns a season ago, racking up honors as the Vernon Parish Offensive Player of the Year, honorable mention all-state and first-team all-district.

And although McCoy is a very talented and explosive player, Causey said it is important for the Cats not to rely solely on McCoy's talents.

That's where the likes of DaQuan Davis, Tayln Adams, Jaelyn Edwards, Theron Westerchil and Chris Vargas will come into account.

“We have some depth issues and we will play people on both sides of the ball,” Causey said. “But we are going to have to find ways to get lots of people the ball in open spaces. We are going to use lots of formations and lots of kids.”

Westerchil and Vargas will likely split snaps during the early part of the season as a two-headed monster at quarterback. Westerchil has the stronger arm of the two, but Vargas is a shifty runner according to Causey.

“We are going to use both of them and they will each see plenty of snaps,” Causey said. “I'm confident that both of them can do what is asked of them.”

Along with McCoy in the backfield, Causey plans to utilize the talents of Davis, Adams and Edwards, believing Davis to be just as good as any backs that have walked the halls of Leesville High School, quite the high praise.

When the Cats decide to go to the air, McKenzie Jackson and Andrew Croker are the primary targets at wide receiver, while Milik Phillips and Xavier McCoy will line up at tight end.

“They are all capable of catching the ball,” Causey said. “Our tight ends aren't quite as big as some we've had in the past, but they can play the game.”

Where the Wampus Cats will really need to develop as a unit is along the offensive line. With veterans A.J. Jessup and Kane Bragg as senior leaders in the trenches, Causey is looking for a few young players to step up and into the lineup.

“A.J. and Kane are our leaders up front,” Causey said. “We may be pretty young up front and could start as many as three sophomores. We just have to continue to work hard.”

Senior Jacob Adams, an all-Vernon performer a year ago, is back to reprise his role as the team's placekicker. He is extremely steady as a kicker on extra points and has spent much of the summer attending as many kicking camps as possible in an attempt to improve his game. He is also expected to serve as the team's punter.

Defensively, the Wampus Cats are going to base out of the 4-3 look, while sometimes utilizing a 50 attack.

“We will use a lot of different fronts and looks, but we will base out of the 4-3,” Causey said.

Up front, the Wampus Cats will look to seniors Justin St. Clergy and Elijah Mundy to be leaders, along with junior D.J. Smith. According to Causey, Mundy is a smart player with good size and speed.

Causey, however, is extremely excited about senior linebackers Sabian Matuu and Jaelyn Edwards. He is expecting them to be the leaders of his defense.

“They are two best linebackers on the field,” Causey said. “We are very young on the field after them, but they are extremely physical defenders. We have challenged them to be able to adjust out there on the field when we need that and they are catching on well. I've been pretty pleased with them so far.”

Jackson and Croker will see time in the secondary for the Wampus Cats along with their duties on offense. They will have to be leaders in the defensive backfield as Causey said the team is “very young on defense.”

The Wampus Cats, after taking on Bolton in the Alexandria Jamboree on August 26, will open the season on the road on Sept. 2 against Westlake. Two of the next three are at home against South Beauregard and Pineville, with a trip to Alexandria sandwiched in between them.

Leesville closes out the non-district campaign at Iowa before opening the District 3-4A season at home on Oct. 7 against Washington-Marion.

A Thursday game at Rayne follows before the Wampus Cats host LaGrange and Crowley in back-to-back weeks. On Nov. 4, the Wampus Cats go to DeRidder for its annual Hooper Trophy matchup against the Dragons.

“We have to treat every game as a playoff game,” Causey said. “We play a very tough schedule and our district is simply smashmouth. The teams in our district play old school football and they will run it right at you.”

According to Causey, Crowley and LaGrange are probably the class of the district as they both have successful programs with solid coaching staffs.

But if the Wampus Cats want to return to the playoffs, they will have play with a perfect effort.

“We are going to have to go out there, line up and earn everyone's respect,” Causey said. “We are going to have to play hard and with perfect effort. All we can do is keep chopping wood and see what happens.”