SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Port Allen Pelicans

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Port Allen Pelicans
Port Allen Pelicans (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - Sportsline Summer Camp visited the Port Allen Pelicans for stop No. 26.

When you’re 5-5 the previous season, “next year” can be pivotal. And for the Port Allen Pelicans, that’s where we are heading into 2020.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Port Allen Pelicans - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Port Allen Pelicans - Part 2

It’s been a slow but steady process over at Port Allen High School. The Pelicans are coming off their most productive season under head coach Don Gibson, which included a home playoff victory over Rayville, but now, they are looking to become a more consistent group heading into this year.

“We were right there last year and even though we only won five games last year, we probably could have been an 8-2 football team because of the way the ball swung from here and there,” said Gibson. “But it showed us, it helped us build as a team, and talking about that mental toughness you need as a program to learn how to get through those games and not continue to make the same mistakes.”

“We didn’t come together as a team when we needed to,” added senior quarterback Jacoby Howard. “Like in crunch time and the last part of the season, we played for a district title and we could not come through because of leadership and us growing apart at difficult times but I think this year is going to change.”

Experience will be on the Pelicans’ side as they return seven starters on each side of the ball. Howard and senior wide receiver Mekyle Franklin just two of those leaders looking to pitch their triple-option offense into the next level.

“We showed glimpses of it last year but it wasn’t really planned out,” said Franklin. “But it’s going to be really great. We are adding a lot more stuff to it so we are going to put up a lot of points this year.”

“This is year four, this group of kids that are going to be my senior class. This is my first senior class here at Port Allen and it was special because it is such a great group of kids. Those guys understand what it takes and we have used these last couple years to build to that point,” Gibson explained.

And while it’s easy to focus on the now, this flock of a dozen senors intends on establishing a positive culture for the future.

“Just setting something down for when we leave. There is a platform already set. So guys continue to come in, continue to work, and continue to win - a winning program,” Franklin noted.

Gibson emphasized Port Allen’s five-win campaign last might be a little deceiving because his guys were close to breaking through.

And while the Pelicans are working to get bigger and stronger, the small frame of a shifty quarterback like Howard could be hard to stop with another year under his belt in their option attack to go with seven starters back on each side of the ball.

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