CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Sportsline Summer Camp recently visited with Central Private and new coach Robbie Mahfouz, who's coached 33 years at LHSAA schools and will lead the Rebels into that association after they play this year, their last in the MAIS.
"The thing that's been different for me is just having 26 kids, instead of 86," said Mahfouz. "We've got skill guys, Steve, that can play just anywhere. And I tell them that. They could play at any 5A school anywhere."
WAFB 9Sports was there when the Rebels got their first taste of what's to come during 7-on-7 competition.
"We had maybe two or three practices and they figured it out. They went to the football," Mahfouz added.
"I thought we would compete, but I didn't expect us to win any games," said senior lineman Luke James. "We did. We won one and tied one."
"We don't have big kids, but they bust their butts. Here we go," Mahfouz said.
Mahfouz, the former LSU and SLU quarterback, inherited a roster of 19 players. He has it up to 26 by adding baseball players from the Rebels' outstanding program. On the day Central Private was at Live Oak, the Rebels faced 5A opponents Walker, Ponchatoula, and Broadmoor for a baptism of sorts. But even with just a couple of practices to get ready, Central Private, though out-numbered, hung in there and showed us some special play-making in the clutch, like Colton Huff to Jace Pendarvis on the last play of the game with the Wildcats as the final buzzer was sounding.
"That was the kids' first time to ever do a 7-on-7. They went after the football. We did very, very well. We played three 5A schools and did very well," Mahfouz explained.
"I was proud of, especially all the news guys that came out," said Blake Kolb, a senior cornerback and running back. "We had some that never even played football before. That was their first time ever competing against somebody besides just playing in your backyard. I think they did well competing against 5A schools for the first time ever."