AUBURN – The LaFayette football team donned their helmets for the first time this summer, participating in Auburn University’s 7v7 camp on Thursday.
Along with some local schools, teams from the Southeast participated in the camp, including Pearl River High School, originally from Louisiana, which finished 5-2 in 4A a year ago, and Moss Point High School, which finished 6-3 in Mississippi 4A a year ago.
Overall, the Bulldogs finished 2-3 in games, entering the playoff bracket as the 11th seed. Twenty-four teams in total participated in the 7v7 camp.
âThese kids did a great job. They competed well, âsaid head coach Juan Williams. âThey did what we asked them to do. We had a great time here, just getting the chance to really put ourselves in a position to compete. Many of our young children have spent precious time here, learning things they would not have learned sitting at home. We faced great competition. Our children were learning to compete with Moss Point, Mississippi. As a coach you like to see if we will compete. We made a play, got the ball back and had a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.
In LaFayette’s last 7v7 game, which had a 20-minute clock, LaFayette needed a save with about a minute to go. LaFayette’s Vinay Singh intercepted a pass from Moss Point, giving LaFayette a chance to win the game on the last disc, but only had time for one play.
Williams put his team in a tougher range than initially expected by Auburn camp managers. LaFayette faced several 4A-6A teams during the camp, instead of facing some of the 1A-3A teams present.
This gave him the opportunity to test his playing skills against bigger, more physical teams.
âWe still need to improve, but I’m encouraged by how different kids are stepping up and performing, who haven’t had a chance to compete yet,â said Williams. “What I mean by that is we have guys who haven’t played football and who are really standing up for us.”
One key player who has stepped up according to Williams is Chandler Winston, who played last season but didn’t have much experience. He played the tight end and played the middle and outside linebacker during camp.
The camp gave quarterbacks Tazarius Towles and AJ Patrick the opportunity to gain experience as the Bulldogs will have an open quarterback competition going into the fall. Overall, Williams said he was happy with the performance of both.
“[Patrick] and Towles both had good outings. We let one play one game and the other play the other, âsaid Williams. âIt’s going to be a good problem to have, two different dynamics are going to be in competition for this starting place. Towles had a great first half of the day and AJ had a great second half of the day.
While the younger players had the chance to face a live competition and gain experience, for the older players the 7v7 camp gave them the opportunity to show their abilities to the various members. Auburn coaching staff, who floated around the camp. periodically throughout the day.
âIt was amazing. It gave me the opportunity to be bigger and better in the next 2A ball season,â Singh said. âIt showed me the spacing, where to sit on the routes and where to keep running. It taught me the spacing both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I came here and wanted the chance to improve myself.