Cenla Summer Camp: Pickering Red Devils
LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - The coaching carousel in Central Louisiana was a frenzy during the offseason. One team among eleven was the Pickering Red Devils.
It did not take long for the Red Devils to find their new head coach after former head coach Jared Underwood resigned in November. John Daughtery was named the new head coach in January, formerly the assistant head coach at Natchitoches Central.
“Since the seasons have really started to pick up, and the tempo has intensified, it is a little more nerve-racking, but it is a challenge I am up for,” said Daughtery. “One of the things that we did during the summer was something I borrowed from an old football coach from the 1920s, Amos Alonzo Stagg. There is a bowl game after him, and what he did was the burning of the shoe ritual. At the campfire, I explained to them what the idea was. We are going to burn these old pair of cleats. Out with old comes something new, and I said, ‘That is what you all have to decide what this is going to become.”
The last time Pickering had a winning season was in 2020 when they made it to the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Devils only have four seniors on their roster, which means they are looking to the underclassman to make an impact as well, especially first-year quarterback Braden Ford.
“I had to step up and lead the team because last year I was not really a part of the team,” said Ford. “I was just a backup on defensive. Now I am starting on offense. I am just trying to do my best to help the team. If they are confused or something, I help them if they can not remember something and be the best quarterback I can be.”
In the last few seasons, the Red Devils have not been able to find the win column, going 0-20, but many of the players said Coach Daughtery brings the change and culture they have been searching for and are beyond ready to take a step in the right direction.
“The motivation this year is to put past what everyone has labeled us as,” said Red Devils’ senior offensive lineman Logan Sneed. “We are trying to change that, instead of saying that is an easy win, they say, ‘Oh, we get to play Pickering.”
Pickering opens up the John Daughtery era in 2023 with an away against Elton on Friday, Sept. 1.
KALB’s Cenla Summer Camp Series 2023 is presented by La. Farm Bureau.
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