Iota closes out spring drills with Maroon-Gold game

IOTA – Like most Class 2A high schools, the numbers game has been an issue for the Iota Bulldogs over the years.

This year is no different.

Iota, which struggled through a 1-9 season a year ago, had just over 50 players dressed out for Friday’s annual Maroon-Gold game that closed out the 10-day spring practice period for the Bulldogs.

“We just really don’t have the numbers to send our first-team offense out there against our first-team defense because most of the kids go both ways,” said Iota coach Neal Lege, whose first teams went up against a scout squad for most of the 27-play scrimmage. “And a lot of our kids, especially the younger ones, went straight from football to basketball and then to baseball and now back to spring. So they’re tired right now and ready to call it a year.”

Despite the lack of numbers, Lege’s squad still managed to get in a solid workout in front of the hometown crowd on their final day of spring workouts.

“We just wanted to get a look at some of the younger kids and see where we were,” said Lege. “We moved the ball up and down the field, hash to hash and kind of kept it up-tempo just to push the kids a little bit. And they responded well, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

The Bulldogs, who lost three games last season by a touchdown or less, graduated just four seniors from their 2011 squad. And despite returning a number of younger players who got valuable experience during the season, in some instances, Lege said his players have taken a few steps backward rather than forward.

“We’ve got some young kids that haven’t developed yet like I thought they would,” said Lege. “We’re having to go back and revisit some things that should be second nature by now. But we’re still a very young ballclub and it’s just going to be a growing up process. It’s just going to take time.”

Lege, however, was pleased with some of what he saw out of his team during the 1 1/2-hour scrimmage.

Returning tailback Brandon Fantroy had a number of impressive runs and both quarterbacks - J.T. LeJeune and Timmy Lunson - completed a number of long strikes down the field.

Fantroy rushed for over 700 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior while LeJeune and Lunson each saw time at quarterback last year along with Thomas Murrell.

“Brandon ran the ball real well today and both quarterbacks did a really good job of running the offense,” said Lege.

Overall, the spring practice period went well for the Bulldogs, who will now return to the weight room next week before the school year ends.

“We spent a lot of time on fundamentals, especially on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Lege. “We have a lot of young kids on both sides of the ball.

“We have kids playing different positions. We moved some inside that played outside last year. We’re just trying to look at them in different positions and see if it strengthens us or weakens us. Some kids made some progress and opened our eyes and others, we’ll have to move back to where they were at.”

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