By JOEL McNEECE
Calhoun City Football Coach Perry Liles concluded spring practice pleased with the performance of his defense and some possible depth gained on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcats started the spring with 52 players and ended with 48 competing for spots. Members of the Wildcat track team were unable to participate due to their involvement in the state track meet.
“It gave a lot of our younger guys and second team guys a chance to get in a lot of time,” Liles said. “I thought that was important.”
The Wildcats concluded spring practice with a jamboree at Winona in which they scrimmaged Shelby-Broadstreet, Ackerman and Winona.
“Winona was the only one that scored on us,” Liles said. “We scored on everyone.”
The defense was a focal point of the spring for the Wildcats, and Liles said they performed well with five starters missing due to track.
“We really tried to simplify the defense and just play football,” Liles said. “We really didn’t give up many yards in those first two games at Winona. I thought that was very encouraging. We just got worn down in the third game against Winona.”
Linebacker play was a specific area for needed improvement going into next season, Liles said. Raheem Roberson has moved to defensive end, and Tae Lawrence, Patrick Crowley, Marcquez Jones and Dantrell Parker are holding things down at linebacker.
The Wildcat middle is also bolstered by returning starters Rokedrick Mays and Kardevin Thomas.
“I really liked what I saw out of all of them,” Liles said.
Offensively, the Wildcats were missing several starters as well, particularly at wide receiver with Demarius Howard, Tray Pratt and Aaron Thompson in track. Vardaman transfer Arsenio Lee was a bright spot, Liles said.
“I thought we threw the ball real well,” Liles said.
Summer workouts will begin in June. The team will be attending the 7-on-7 camp at Mississippi State.
Fall practice will begin July 26, since the Mississippi High School Activities Association moved it up a week from past years.
The first game is Aug. 20 against Coffeeville.
EDITOR’S?NOTE: Spring wrap-up stories will appear each of the next few weeks featuring Bruce, Vardaman and Calhoun Academy.