After an outstanding season last fall, the Minden High School football program seems once again headed in the right direction.
With a successful spring practice recently completed, veteran Crimson Tide coach Spencer Heard sees ample reasons for optimism heading into the summer. Minden will participate in some 7-on-7 competitions this month while players continue to work out at W.W. Williams Sr. Stadium.
Coming off a run to the Class 4A quarterfinals last fall in a pandemic-shortened 7-3 season, the Crimson Tide dodged wet weather to complete eight of the allotted nine intersquad spring practices before a spring game against the talented Woodlawn Knights.
“I thought it went well, especially getting all the rain we had. We came out of it pretty healthy,” said Heard. “Going in, one of our biggest areas of concern was the secondary, where we’re young. We got some answers.”
With the matchup against Woodlawn serving as a final exam for spring ball, Heard cited plenty of good grades. Rising sophomore Jacobe Jackson and rising senior Roderien Richardson were the top performers among the defensive backs.
“Jacobe played really well during the course of spring at free safety. He had two picks in the spring game. Roderien Richardson played pretty well at cornerback,” said Heard. “We did give up a couple of scores over the top, which is how we learn what not to let happen in the fall, but overall, we showed up well on the back end.
“Other than those two deep balls, the defense played lights out. We played really well in the box, and our defensive line was really good. We ran to the ball well and tackled well.”
Rising junior defensive tackle Makhi Reed (6-3, 300) is on a strong trajectory.
“Makhi was a good player for us last year and he’s going to be something else this fall. He’s coming into his own,” said Heard.
Returning linebacker starters Tyrese Lane and Kentravion Lister handled business inside. A third senior veteran, Jacolby Snell, a starter at cornerback last fall, moved to outside linebacker and had a good spring, Heard said.
The Crimson Tide demonstrated it will not be one-dimensional offensively in 2021.
“We made some strides. In the spring game, we scored three times, just as importantly in a scrimmage, moved the ball well, throwing it and running it. We saw what we wanted to see,” he said.
“Our offensive line will be a real good unit for us. We have three returners, and a couple new guys, with a lot of potential.”
In the backfield, Daylen Robinson ran with a lot of power, said Heard. Lane and Lister also had impressive runs when they got reps at running back.
Receiver Jaylin Williams made three catches and will be a primary target in the passing game, which will be triggered by senior Andrew Cooper.
“He had to come in and win our playoff game against Leesville, then started in the quarterfinals vs. Neville last fall, so he’s got big game experience,” said Heard. “Andrew has a strong arm and is a dual-threat quarterback.”
As the summer begins, all indications are positive for another exciting fall of Crimson Tide football.
“The outlook is really good. We’ve got a couple spots where we’ve got to come along but I’m confident in our ability to do that,” said Heard, entering his ninth season as head coach at Minden, his 10th overall.
The Tide will participate in a 7-on-7 tournament hosted by Northwestern State on June 11, and will play two or three times in Ruston in round-robin schedules in an informal league June 15 and 29.
July will be focused on individual improvement before preseason practice kicks off around the beginning of August.
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