Bulldogs eyeing single goal
By Jason McDaniel
La Porte coach Jeff LaReau's goal going into spring practice was clear: start preparing his team now for what it will take to beat Katy.
The Tigers knocked his Bulldogs out of the playoffs the past two seasons, after a surprise run to the Region III-5A, Division II final two years ago and again last year in the regional semifinals.
You face them twice, and you get knocked out by them both times, yeah, they're pretty high on our radar as far as goals for next year," LaReau said.
(But) it's a step-by-step process. The first thing we have to do is win some ballgames in district, make the playoffs and get to a point where you're in the third or fourth round playing those guys.
Those are all goals of ours."
Winning enough games shouldn't be too difficult in next season's six-team 21-5A district, which includes North Shore, Beaumont West Brook, Port Arthur Memorial, Channelview and Baytown Sterling.
But the Bulldogs have work to do to return to the third round. The process began four weeks ago with the start of spring practice, which ends with the spring game Wednesday at Bulldog Stadium.
Outside of figuring a way to beat Katy, LaReau has focused on improving the offensive line, where Nick Hamilton and tight end Pierre Hernandez are the only returning starters.
LaReau was looking for four more O-linemen and a halfback during the spring, and one player who caught his eye is junior tackle Joe Brewer, whose only start last season was against Deer Park.
He's come a long way, really improved, and I'm really looking forward to seeing him work this next season," LaReau said,
All-district free safety Jeremy McNeal is moving to quarterback to replace Ryan Williams. McNeal took a few snaps last season but didn't throw much, but LaReau says he's done well this spring.
He's shown us this spring that he throws the ball well and moves around well, so he'll be a big factor in how our offense goes next season," LaReau said.
Tailback Anthony Webb will be back. He split time with Kendrick Perkins last season but went into the year as the No. 1 starter, and he'll do so again next season. Who will back him up is unclear.
Junior Ben Flores, a starting corner last season, sophomore Nick Ochoa, an outfielder on the baseball team who's missed most of the spring, and freshman Keith Whitely are the top candidates.
The lines may feature several sophomore starters next season who've impressed as freshmen this spring, including nose tackle Corey Lee.
He's a really quick kid, very explosive, tough to block he's pretty good for a freshman kid," LaReau said.
Defensively we've got it all together and we've found some key players. Offensively we've come along, we've gotten better. We still need to improve with the offensive line, but I'm really pleased with what we've done this spring."
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