DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - Sportsline Summer Camp stop No. 29 for our 30th year of Sportsline Friday Nite took us to Denham Springs.
The Yellow Jackets said goodbye to six senior all-district performers from last year’s 7-5 team that pulled a first round upset on the road before falling just shy of the quarterfinals in a 38-37 loss to No. 3-seed Acadiana in the Class 5A playoffs.
Not that they don’t teach toughness and contact, as evidenced by some of the young guys getting reps in the spring game, what’s really important for head coach Bill Conides is quarterback Luke Lunsford and 29 other seniors.
Conides says the seniors have taken ownership of the team. One of those seniors, wide receiver Phillip Earnhardt, rolled into the end zone on a play during the spring game.
Lunsford is 6-foot-3 and weighs 208 pounds. He spent his junior season passing for 2,700 yards and 47 touchdowns for a team that scored plenty of points, but gave up 101 points in losses to parish rival Walker and 5A champion Zachary.
Lunsford was a spectator for spring and summer workouts our crew visited. Conides said while junior John McDaniel and senior Braydon Bencaz were playing pitch and catch in 7-on-7, Lunsford was making dramatic improvements for an offense that looks to find balance between the pass and the run.
“Oh tremendously; he’s gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger, a lot faster," Conides explained. "His arm has certainly gotten stronger. And I think what’s most special to me is he’s just a team guy. It’s a cliche, ‘Oh yeah, he’s a great team player.’ No, he’s the ultimate team player, so I think he’s grown tremendously this off season.”
“I’ve got four receivers who can all make plays," said Lunsford. "Playmakers all over the field. I’m real excited for this year.”
Lunsford is missing Treveon Muse, a former Sportsline Player of the Week, in the backfield at running back. But both Lunsford and Conides believe the steps they made right up to the last play of the Acadiana loss will pay big dividends in 2019.