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Second spring under Skains much easier for Tarpons


South Lafourche's Marvel Bourgeois (90) pressures the quarterback during last week's scrimmage against Chalmette. (Photo by Addie Gibbons/Correspondent)


-- 11th in a 13-part series.

GALLIANO — South Lafourche's 2012 football season ended abruptly in the Class 5A state playoffs, and that disappointing finish has served as motivation for the Tarpons throughout their 2013 spring practices.

The Tarpons concluded their spring workouts with a dominating performance against Chalmette in last week's spring game.

Whether it was running, passing or creating turnovers, the Tarpons got into the end zone eight times against the Owls, while shutting out Chalmette's first-string offense. Chalmette's only touchdowns came against South Lafourche's second-string defense.

It was the kind of performance South Lafourche made routine on Friday nights during the 2012 season, as the Tarpons completed its first undefeated regular season since 1966.

Unfortunately, South Lafourche ran into Ruston in a bi-district playoff game and came up short, losing the game and ending the season with a 9-1 overall mark.

Tarpons coach Dennis Skains said he understands why fans are excited after a 9-1 record, but he and the team were disappointed with how last season ended. The day after losing to Ruston, the Tarpons began working toward the 2013 season.

"I think it depends on how you look it. Yes, outside of the locker room there was probably a lot of momentum with the community. Within the coaching staff and the team, we were ready to get back to work because we weren't happy with the ending," Skains said. "Our focus is solely on the 2013 season and for these seniors to make their way and make their mark. South Lafourche has had a bunch of good seasons since 1966, but we are only worried about 2013."

While the disappointment of last season has fueled the Tarpons throughout spring, Skains said the team worked more efficiently in the second spring under his guidance.

In his first season, Skains brought in an up-tempo style to both the offense and defense which had players' heads swimming keeping up with the pace.

"It is always easier. The second year is always easier even if we would have put in a new offense or defense the second year is always easier. They knew what to expect," Skains said. "(Last year), the coaches and the team didn't know what to expect, and they probably didn't buy into me until later down the line. It was a lot smoother and we practiced a lot quicker, and the kids were more mentally prepared for it. Now that doesn't always translate, but we had a good spring. Now we want to have a good summer and hopefully that will carry over into the fall."

South Lafourche linebacker Peyton Guidry said the team had a sluggish start to spring practice, but as the days went by, the speed and intensity picked up. Guidry returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown against Chalmette.

"From day one we started out slow, but as things went along we got better and started running to the ball like we did (against Chalmette). (Running to the ball) was one of the things we had to work on and, we had to work on effort and getting the younger guys caught up where they needed to be," Guidry said. "Each day we progressed and we are not where we want to be, but (the spring) is a good start. We have a lot of starters returning, so we were pretty confident how our spring was going to go. We worked hard, and we wanted to build off of last season."

South Lafourche's offense had a sluggish start in the scrimmage against Chalmette as its first play went for negative yardage. However just a few plays later, running back Laquindin Randle caught a screen pass from quarterback Dominic Fillinich and raced 90 yards for a touchdown.

Fillinich said the offense is still a work in progress, but he expects the unit to improve especially with having to compete against the defense in practice.

"I think we did good (against Chalmette). We have a lot of room to improve and we will get better as the season progresses. (The offense) takes time, but we will get better," Fillinich said. "We were a little sloppy, but it will get better and our defense is really good, so working against them will only get us better. In the summer, we will work on 7-on-7 and running routes and just getting better at that kind of stuff."

Skains said while spring did go smooth, it still consisted of teaching and correcting mistakes, but now that spring is over, the focus turns to summer and building momentum for the 2013 season.

"We did make a lot of mistakes, but the kids were very receptive to the corrections. Sometimes you get kids that don't want to be corrected by coaches. But these kids are buying into what we want to accomplish, and I think they are doing a good job of accepting the teaching," Skains said. "We will continue to improve. We tell our kids what is our goal (today) and they know the answer is to get better. We got to get into the weight room and get stronger. We had a great offseason and we had some kids reached some goals, but we have to continue to do that. Every season will be determined on how you work in the summer. We got to hope our kids continue to buy in and want to get after it over the summer."

Coming Saturday: Thibodaux