Leader Blues

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

SPORTS >> North Pulaski displays new look in spring

BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

IN SHORT: North Pulaski’s football team spent spring practice working on new offensive and defensive sets that they will use in the upcoming 2006 football season.

North Pulaski closed out its spring practices last Thursday with a lively scrimmage that gave the Falcon coaching staff something to look forward to next fall.

The Falcons will have to deal with the uphill battle of being youthful in most positions, but there’s depth at some key spots.
Most notably, North Pulaski has no shortage of backfield players. Charles Baker is the returning starter and has taken most of the hand-offs in practice, but he’s joined by a good group of ball carriers.

“Baker has looked good,” NP coach Tony Bohannon said. “He’s been strong and hitting the line pretty hard. Right now he’s the workhorse.”

Others like Daniel Thurman, Houston Regan, Alex Thomas, sophomore Stanley Appleby and newcomer Desmond Thomas have also had their moments toting the ball.

The numbers dressed out for practice varied. At least 35 worked out every day. The team peaked at 51 for one practice.
“There’s just a lot of things that interfere this time of year,” Bohannon said. “Some of them legit, some are questionable. We’ll make a team out of the ones that want to be here.”

Another area that Bohannon was pleased with was the offensive line. The line has been a weakness in the past couple of years, but Bohannon believes it will be stronger this year, just in time for the Falcons’ return to a run-oriented offense.

“We weren’t big enough or deep enough to try to run at people last year, but I think we might have the hosses in there that can make some holes for us this year,” Bohannon said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can carry the ball, so if we get the line up to snuff we ought to be able to move the ball down the field this year.”

“One of the brightest spots on the interior during spring drills was senior Jeffrey Bogard. Bogard also looked good at defensive end.

“He had himself a really good four or five days of practice,” Bohannon said. “We’re excited about him.”

Chris Matthews, J.J. Thomas and Cary Toomer have also made some holes on the inside. One more piece of the puzzle is still needed though.

“I feel real good about those four,” Bohannon said. “If they can stay healthy and we can find one or two more, we will be ready to go.”

Senior Shoin Hand returns to the team as a speedy wideout with good hands. He was the team’s fastest player last year before leaving the team for unspecified reasons. His return is a big plus according to Bohannon.

“He gives us a deep threat if we need it,” Bohannon said. “He might take some hand-offs too.”

Bohannon hinted at one of the areas that still needs some work- quarterback.

The leading candidate after spring practice was surprising.

“If we started tomorrow we’d go with Michael Fleshman,” Bohannon said of his sophomore. Junior Jason Regnas and Appleby also took snaps, but neither was present for every practice.

Many of the same names were mentioned when talking about the defensive side of the ball. The biggest news about the defense is that it will be switching to a 5-3 set, a change from last year’s 4-4.

“We’ll still run a 4-4 because we’ve got all those wide-spread teams in this conference,” Bohan-non said of NP’s move to the 5A-East. “Our base set will be the 5-3.”

The Falcons will go to the Razorback football camp June 11, then return to begin league 7-on-7.