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East Ascension coach Darnell Lee


Spartans at Buccaneers

Sept. 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.


With Darnell Lee

Head Football Coach

East Ascension High School

Sports Scene: Your team is the toast of the parish after the first week? Did you and your team look at it as a surprise or were you ready for these guys.

Coach Lee: It is an exciting time in Spartan football right now. We had some guys step up and get their first reps under the lights on Friday night and it actually counted so we are really excited about this season. We prepared for them and just focused on getting the win. We were expecting a physical football team that was assignment sound. Anytime you play a two-time defending champ and get a win, it is exciting.

Sports Scene: People were wondering what type of team you would return because you lost a lot of players last year?

Coach Lee: Last year, we had 30 seniors but I think what is helping us move from year to year is playing as many sophomores as we can to get more three-year starters down the stretch. And it also keeps guys that are experienced in the program. We are more aggressive down the stretch this year and were able to punch it in.

Sports Scene: Can you tell us about how your quarterbacks performed and what they do?

Coach Lee: It is not really a situation. People think quarterback controversy but it is not. Cameron Jones is our starting quarterback. Hobart Grayson is a guy who hasn’t played since seventh grade but he can run like a deer and is just as good a receiver and safety. This past Friday, he was a good change of pace for us. While Cam was in there, he did everything we asked him to do. He is a first-year starter even though he is a senior. He has to get a little bit better with his footwork and mechanics but for the most part he was a good field general Friday night rushing for two scores and throwing for three. It is a good problem to have and really an asset for us to have both because it will pose a problem in preparation for us by other teams.

Sports Scene: You also have some big receivers?

Coach Lee: Steven McBride is just a tough competitor. The reps he takes in practice and games are all the same. He is trying to win it. I think in this age it is tough keeping guys humble but he is one who respects the process of the game and hard work that comes into it. He is a pleasure to coach and you put it anywhere in his vicinity and he will go up and get it. Jyrin Johnson is like our Marques Colston type player who can play in the slot or put his hand in the ground at tight end.

Sports Scene: How does your running game look?

Coach Lee: We lost Evan Copeland our leading rusher from a year ago but he and Ethan Bagwell split the time. Ethan is slasher and we also have sophomore Kendall Washington who came in and finished the game for us. He is a tough runner. We have some talented guys and all of them are pretty good receivers so you will see them flex out in our empty formations.

Sports Scene: Let’s move over to the defensive side. How do feel about the performance?

Coach Lee: We put them in some bad situations with turnovers. Keilon Brown has been starting since he was a freshmen. He is slippery, can throw and is strong. He broke free for over 200 yards but I think if you take him out of the equation we looked pretty good on defense. We scheduled Zachary for a reason. We wanted to know where we were.

Sports Scene: Next week, you are taking a long trip to Haughton?

Coach Lee: They are a 5A program that is rich in tradition. John Ehret played them in the regional round last year and they were without their quarterback who can move and throw it. They have some real good receivers. They are scrappy on defense. I like our chances and the reason we scheduled that game was to give our guys that experience for the long haul if we have a playoff game in Shreveport where we know how to handle ourselves on the road.