Young tigers expected to mature quickly
By Maurice Singleton
Aug 20, 2013, 18:34
The 2013 Bay High School Tigers Varsity Football Team.
The Bay High Tigers football team is in a rebuilding year after one of the best seasons in Tigers' history, going 10-2 and losing a nail-biter in the third round of the state playoffs. The Tigers' challenge is to replace 22 starters from last year's roster and capitalize on a tough pre-district schedule before district play begins the first week in October.
Tigers' coach Jeff Hopgood is expecting steady growth and maturity, as he is pleased with what he has seen in spring drills, summer practices, and in the jamboree game last Friday night in which the Tigers were not penalized a single time. "We played disciplined football; as young as we are, we are going to have to do that each week. We are not going to beat ourselves.
"The kids have been working hard," Hopgood added. "We have a football program at Bay High. The kids know what's expected of them. They came out here and competed. I was proud of them for that."
The Tigers will be led by 6'1" senior quarterback Bennett Favre, who will be looking to pass the ball 40% of the time. His receiving corps will include seniors Gage Ladner and Colin Byrd, and running backs junior Larnelle Lewis and sophomore Brennan Fountain.
"He's been working hard for four years," Hopgood says of his quarterback. "He has persevered and has been a consistent player for us. He does a good job of managing our offense."
Senior Nick Proulx and Lewis will lead the running attack. In the jamboree last Friday night, the Tigers' rushing attack struggled early, but the Tigers appeared to figure it out and then moved the ball consistently against a very athletic Perry Central defense.
"That's what this offense is about - imposing our will on people," Hopgood explained. "We'll get better each week."
Senior offensive lineman Dusty Breckley will lead the blocking on the offensive line. At 6'4" and 325 pounds, the 3-year starter is the only returning starter from last year's team.
The Tigers also return senior kicker Patrick Ponder who had a record punt of 71 yards last year. "He's a good leader," said Hopgood. "He's got a strong leg. He is definitely a weapon for us in terms of being able to win the field position battle for us. He can also kick field goals 50+ yards."
The Tigers open the season at Biloxi on Friday night in the Shrimp Bowl. The Tigers travel to Purvis the second week of the season then play consecutive home games against West Harrison and Long Beach before traveling to Hancock. District play begins on October 4th as the Tigers host Pass Christian.
The Tigers visit cross-town rival St. Stanislaus on Oct.11. The Tigers play consecutive home games at Vancleave and Poplarville before closing out the regular season at new district 8-4A opponent Moss Point.
"We have a long way to go," Hopgood assessed his team last Friday night. "We play a very good Biloxi team next Friday night, and we'll be ready to play."