by Malcolm Butler
“The Creek is never dry!”
Those were the tongue-in-cheek words of assistant coach Jacob Angevine trotting off the practice field Monday night as Mother Nature decided to shorten Cedar Creek’s first official team workout just over an hour into the session.
After a few bone-dry months around north Louisiana, Mother Nature opted for Monday night to break the drought.
Second year head coach Matt Middleton said he was still happy to get the players out.
“You can’t control the weather,” said Middleton. “We haven’t had rain in a month and here we are on our first day … But it was good being out there.”
Cedar Creek has 36 players out for the varsity team starting fall workouts. And despite the abbreviated first day session, Middleton said they were still able to get a few things accomplished.
“We really just got through our (individual) stuff,” said Middleton. “We had just gotten through some inside run and pass scale. We were fixing to go to team but the lightning started popping. The energy was good. The energy was real good. I think they were all excited to get back out there. I know I was. This is a good group of kids.”
This time last year Middleton still wasn’t sure what he had entering his first full year with the program. However, the Cougars posted a 6-4 regular season mark, including a historic win over Oak Grove and some near-misses against state powers OCS and Jonesboro-Hodge, and advanced to the Division IV playoffs.
Gone are three talented seniors in Jed Worthey, Carson Riley and Seth Smith to graduation — a small senior class by any measure. However, the off-season saw the departure of eight more Cougars, including Bryce Rushing and AJ Thomas.
“It’s tough,” said Middleton. “I don’t know that you replace those seniors from a year ago and obviously (we had) some transfers that left the program. But it’s the next-man-up mentality. That’s just the way life is. We have to move forward and put one foot in front of the other. We have to get after it and find the guys who are going to fill those spots.
“We just have to line up and go play. That’s the great thing about football. It takes 11 guys at a time, and I think its the greatest team sport that there is.”
Despite some question marks on both sides of the ball, Middleton said he feels good about the upcoming season.
“I think I’m more at peace (than I was this time last year),” said Middleton. “I think I know what we have. I’m excited. I mean I was excited last year, but I don’t think its such a big question mark this year. I think it’s a matter of how quickly can we get this thing back together. Being productive is the biggest thing for us so obviously we need every minute we can get on the practice field.”
The Cougars will practice today, Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. Friday will be Media Day for the Cougars.