DENHAM SPRINGS -- The may not play each other in the regular season, but Denham Springs High and Albany got a chance to square off on the football field thanks to 7-on-7 drills Wednesday at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
Each team scored twice during a 20-minute period as part of an event that also featured St. Michael, Northeast and Mentorship Academy.
The biggest takeaway for Denham Springs coach Bill Conides was the progress his team has made during the 7-on-7 league season, which began earlier this month.
"The number one goal in the summer is to come together as a team, you know, to work together as a team, and the biggest thing today that we got was both sides picking each other up or capitalizing on each other's success ...," Conides said. "The defense goes out and makes a play, they get an interception, offense turns around scores a touchdown. Or offense goes out and throws a pick and then our defense turns around and gets a pick. Good things tend to happen to good teams that play together, and that's certainly been an improvement since the first time we came out here a month ago."
"There's a reason why we don't turn the scoreboard on," Conides. "You know, we're looking for little things like that, you know, offense making a play and the defense coming back and making a play. And we were able to accomplish that today."
Albany, meanwhile, took part in its first 7-on-7 event of the summer.
"It's just really fine-tuning what we do on our offense," Albany coach Blane Westmoreland said. "We really don't change much. We ran about four plays, which is about what we do. I mean, we are run first, second and third team, and we'll probably run again fourth. It's just what we do. We've got to learn and fine-tune those routes that we do run. We've got a new quarterback, so we've got to get his feet wet. Like I said, I was happy with where we were at today."
The Yellow Jackets scored on an 8-yard pass from Cameron Feucht to Tyre Golmond.
"It's coming together," Golmond said. "Everybody knows their role. Everybody's just not trying to play somebody else's (position). It's like everybody knows their job, and they do it. That''s how we're going to click together."
Albany responded as Jackson Fazio connected with St. Thomas Aquinas transfer Brad Lewis on a 45-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
"It went OK for my first 7-on-7 as a quarterback," said Fazio, who took every snap at quarterback for the Hornets on the day and hit Jewel Rheams on a short TD pass. "My whole life I really haven't played quarterback. I've played running back position, so it's different. Last year, I was out here playing DB, so I'm jut getting my feet wet (and) learning the offense."
Denham Springs turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, and the Hornets drove to the Denham 25 before Justin Anderson intercepted a Fazio pass in the end zone.
"Everybody's being where they're supposed to be at and knowing their job," Denham Springs' Dorsett Washington said of the Yellow Jacket defense's effort on Wednesday. "Nobody's being selfish or pointing fingers. That's another big thing. Nobody's pointing fingers. If we give up a big play, we say 'have a short memory'. That's something we always say 'have a short memory, go to the next play', and that's what we do."
The Hornets returned the favor when the Yellow Jackets got the ball back after Golmond appeared to score on a 45-yard pass. But the ball was brought back to the Hornet 10, and Tyree Callahan intercepted Feucht in the end zone on the next play.
"The kids did a great job on defense," Westmoreland said. "We rotated a number of kids in, especially our young kids. We had a lot of our freshmen and sophomores there, but overall we were happy with what they were able to do. I mean, they allowed three touchdowns on the day in three games, so you can't really from those guys, especially the freshmen and sophomores that we had playing. I was happy on both sides (of the ball), but I think I came away a little bit more happy with the defense and how they performed today."
Albany turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, setting up DJ Williams' 45-yard TD catch from Feucht.
The Hornets turned the ball over on downs on their final drive.