Football was in the air as the parish’s three high schools held their first practices of the 2016 season Monday, Aug. 1. Players have been in the weight room all summer, but today was the first chance to come together on the field as a team. The parish’s teams feature one long term head coach, a first year head coach moving up from South Louisiana’s St. James High and a head coach for the second time, coming back to head the St Mary’s Tigers once again after being head coach from 2000 to 2001 with a stint in the NFL, Cedar Creek and as an assistant coach at St. Mary’s in the interim.
Natchitoches Central’s Brandon Helms had his 84 players “doing everything on the run” as he begins his 9th year as head coach of the Chiefs. The Lakeview Gators had 32 men under first year coach Byron Keller as he personally led drills for his players. The St. Mary’s Tigers had 42 players under Head Coach Corwyn Aldredge. This year marks his second stint at the helm of the Tigers. He is a 1981 SMS graduate who coached the Tigers in 2000 – 2001 after a successful college career and several years in the NFL playing for Tampa Bay.
There is nothing like the first day of practice in which each team is undefeated and all things are possible. The NPJ wishes the best of luck to all of the parish’s athletes!