ST. AMANT, LA (WAFB) - With four offensive line starters back and 35 seniors, the Gators showed in their spring game at Denham Springs they plan on following up their success of 2015 that included the school's first playoff win since 2001.
Hayden Mallory, who is quarterback for the St. Amant Gator, is just one of those seniors.
"We don't always have the best athletes and stuff," Mallory said. "Just look at me. We don't have these big 6-3 guys out here catching the ball, but we have guys who run really good routes."
"We're not gonna sneak up on anybody this year," Oliver said. "You're looking at Live Oak, you look at Lutcher, you look at Catholic High, you look at Dutchtown and EA, and then you've got a new coach at McKinley, so there's just game after game after game, there's somebody that wants a piece of St. Amant, so we better be ready to strap it up every Friday."
Mallory showed in the spring game he's building on last year as he carved up the Denham Springs defense with passes to a half dozen different receivers, even though his top target, former WAFB player of the week Briggs Bourgeois, was sidelined.
St. Amant is missing Nathan Taylor at running back, but the Gators may not miss a beat with junior Mark Darby.
Jacob Cheatwood, Reece Elisar, KJ Franklin, Larson Fontenot, Koby Hanna and a handful of running backs headed by Darby are all viable weapons for Mallory, but head coach David Oliver has a virtual coach on the field to get them the ball behind 4 returning offensive linemen.
"I can't tell you how many Sundays I've driven by our practice field and seen him out there throwing at nets or dragging kids out there to throw. Sometimes it's his dad. A lot of times it is so," Oliver said.
"Saturdays, evenings. He'll call us up 'Hey what y'all doing? Let's go throw some.' Well you know it's great," said senior wide receiver/kicker Briggs Bourgeois.
But despite all the weapons back from a team that set school passing records, to a man they say defense is where they'll hang their hopes of a championship season.
"It reminded me of last year when we were doing good. New kids coming in there that aren't that bad. Intense, fast, hard-hitting," senior safety Patrick Wolfe.
"When we took over, I guess it's going on nine years now, we identified that we were only going to be as good as our defense," Oliver said. "And we've worked extremely hard to build that phase of the game."
"I'd have to agree, because defense does win championships," senior defensive end Garett Stephens. "We have a lot of talented guys coming back this year and a lot of guys stepping up and getting a lot better."
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