PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

August 19, 2013

Tuesday's high school football talking points

Some things to talk about while I witness my first practice fight in three years here…

1) Nederland comes out clean

At the beginning of the third week of practices, the biggest takeaway for the Nederland football team is they’re healthy. Not to jinx them, but that wasn’t the case last season, especially after an extremely physical scrimmage against West Orange-Stark knocked out a couple starting offensive linemen.

This year, it’s been a much different outlook out of that scrimmage, one that has encouraged head coach Larry Neumann.

“I’m not elated and I’m not depressed in any way,” Neumann said. “We’re on target or maybe a little ahead of where we want to be.  The biggest positive, knock on wood, is that we came out healthy again. We’ll spend most of our time on negatives, and there were plenty of those, but there were plenty of positives.”

On the negative side, Neumann is concerned about how his team tackled against the Mustangs. There are plenty of new faces on defense, so the Bulldogs need to make sure those new guys measure up to the high standards of that excellent unit from the past few years.

“The inside linebackers, we might have some movement there too,” Neumann said. “Christian Contreras exceeded my expectations, but Leon (Mayfield) didn’t quite get there. There were plenty of reasons why he might have been tentative, but we’re dabbling in those combinations this week.”

2) PN-G’s Walker impresses

In looking back at the film of the Indians’ scrimmage against Hamshire-Fannett, head coach Brandon Faircloth said there were plenty of players on offense who stood out. However, what starting quarterback Ky Walker did was very encouraging.

“I was impressed with Ky,” Faircloth said. “He was almost 13 of 15. That was throwing the ball down the field, not just dinks. Any time you can come close to 13 of 15 (Walker was 11 of 15 on Friday), that’s a pretty good night. I was very glad for him. He would tell you he made plenty of mistakes and there’s room for improvement.”

On defense, linebacker Bradley Broussard, who played quite a bit last season for the Indians, made plenty of plays. As a unit, the most impressive thing the defense might have done was pitch a shutout, stopping the Longhorns on their lone penetration into Indian territory.

“Defensively, we have to tackle,” Faircloth said. “Every head coach is going to say that. No team is tackling like they want to right now. We did open field tackling today, we’re going to do it again tomorrow and Wednesday. Friday night, we’re going to line up and do it some more. I like that our defense had some toughness. They got inside our 40 and our defense held them four downs in a row. It was good for them to be stubborn and have some fight to them.”

3) Recruiting on hold for now

Though teams are spooling up for the regular season, this is a usually quiet time of the season in the recruiting world. That could change in a few weeks when college coaches get out of fall camp and start preparing for the season.

“We had a lot of kids draw interest during spring ball,” Memorial head coach Kenny Harrison said. “Colleges are in two-a-days right now. It’ll be weeks if not months before they start recruiting again. The good thing is they get to see kids perform in game situations. I can see that picking up once the season starts.”

Look for one Titan in particular to start drawing plenty of interest soon. Senior receiver Roderic Rucker, coming off a year when he caught 44 passes for 757 yards and 11 TDs, has been watched by a few colleges since the spring. Those include Texas Tech, who recruited Memorial safety Jalen Barnes last year, and Oklahoma State, where former Titan Jhajuan Seales plays right now.

No one has offered him yet, but that could change soon.

Don’t forget sophomore back Kameron Martin in any recruiting talk. Though Martin won’t be graduating for a while, he’s already drawing tons of interest from colleges, including what seems like the entire Big 12. Martin recently told 24/7 Sports that he wouldn’t make a decision until his junior or senior season, so look for interest in the talented, speedy back to build.

David Coleman is a sportswriter for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at dcoleman@panews.com and found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.

 

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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

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From the Fieldhouse blog