|Harkins has high expectations|
With 12 seniors returning from a team that went 8-4 and to the second round of the playoffs, Chad Harkins has high expections for his first year as the Ferriday High head coach.
"The tradition and atmosphere here are great," Harkins said. "Everybody is enthusiastic about the football program, the kids are enthusiastic and we have a nice football field and facilities that are going to be even nicer. You have the football field right on you with the band. This is the kind of job I visualized when I started coaching."
Harkins said his goal is to make the playoffs and get the Trojans past the second round.
"There's a lot of talent here," he said. "They have been to the quarterfinals and semifinals a lot, but the end of the road more times than any has been the second round. That's why I like playing in a tough district. And with our pre-district schedule, if we can make it to the playoffs, we should be ready. We have some guys who can go. We just need to stay healthy. We do have some depth, so if we lose someone it won't knock our lights out."
Senior ZuRanie Thompson (6-0, 185) starts at quarterback after backing up Rodney Lawson last year.
"ZuRanie's a hard worker and when you tell him what to do he adjusts to it," Harkins said.
Running back are sophomore Jarvis Brooks (5-3, 160) and junior Richard Jefferson 5-8, 152), senior De'Vante Scott 5-11, 186), who is playing in the slot, will also carry the ball, as well as senior Marques Lewis (5-10, 170).
"We'll use Marques when we have a fullback in the game," Harkins said.
Scott had 2,287 all-purpose yards last year.
The offensive line consists of Jerome Ventriss, senior Jacari Williams (5-5, 180), sophomore Henry Jefferson (5-11, 240), junior Carlon McKeel (5-10, 255), sophomore Jalen Hayes (5-8, 265), Al Watson (5-11, 284), McKeel and senior Demetrius Conner (5-9, 306).
"We're going to rotate guys in and out from the offensive and defensive line," Harkins said.
Junior Charles Chandler (6-2, 218) and senior Carl Ray Thompson (6-0. 195) are the tight ends.
Wide receivers are senior Alfred Brown (6-3, 185), senior Gary Mayes (5-9, 150), junior Richard Jefferson (5-8, 152) and junior Darius Smith (5-10, 150).
Brown caught 40 passes for 713 yards and four touchdowns.
"Alfred makes things happen," Harkins said.
The Trojan defense will remain in a 3-4.
Senior Omari Young (6-4, 315), Hayes, Watson, Ventriss and Conner will be out front.
"We've got a lot of guys we're going to work in there," Harkins said.
Lewis and Jolla are the inside linebackers, while Chandler and Thompson are the outside linebackers.
Thompson had 73 tackles, five sacks and an interception last year.
Lewis led the Trojans with 169 tackles and forced three fumbles.
Jefferson, Mayes, Scott, ZuRaine Thompson, Brooks, and Brown will be in the defensive backfield.
Harkins said he is still looking for kickers.
"We've got a square toe shoe coming," he said.
Ferriday plays in one of the toughest districts in the state with Jonesboro-Hodge, Farmerville, Sterlington and
"It's important we have some success early," Harkins said. "They need to see the things we are teaching them are working."