Berwick High School will get its first litmus test on its progress from 2011 when it faces West St. Mary and stud athlete Tre’vell Dixon in the opening game of the St. Mary Parish Jamboree at Tiger Stadium at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Dixon, who at one time had verbally committed to Nebraska, rushed for 780 yards (11 yards per carry) in 2011 and scored eight touchdowns while also completing 93 of 160 passes for 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns.
While Berwick High coach Craig Brodie Sr.’s information on West St. Mary is limited, he said he expects to receive a dose of Dixon on a West St. Mary offense that he said has speed and is traditionally athletic.
“They’re going to run some option with him, and we’ll have to play some assignment defense,” Brodie said.
While Dixon is receiving serious Division 1 attention this season, the Wolfpack will have to replace the efforts of three Division 1 signees. Jontrey Tillman, a University of Houston signee, rushed for 1,440 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior, averaging 12.9 yards per carry.
Daijuan Stewart, who recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards as a senior, has moved on to Southern Methodist.
Also on the offensive and defensive lines, the squad lost Jerald Hawkins, who now is playing collegiately at LSU. As a senior, he didn’t allow a sack and had more than 20 pancake blocks, while on defense, he recorded 70 tackles, including 35 for loss, as well as six forced fumbles, a safety and a fumble recovery.
West St. Mary also lost Austin Carlen, who is playing at Division 3 Louisiana College this fall.
In addition to adjusting to the crowd as well as other aspects of the game, such as sideline organization, Brodie said his squad would have to make adjustments, especially considering they have limited information on their opponent because it is still preseason.
“We’re going into this kind of blind,” Brodie said.
This also will be the first time that both teams have faced live action this fall as Berwick’s scrimmage Friday at Jeanerette was rained out, while West St. Mary did not hold a scrimmage, either.
Brodie said he would like to see his squad be more competitive in its final preseason tune up.
On offense, the Panthers will have a new quarterback as Bobby Boudreaux, the second-team quarterback in 2011, replaces Reed Leonard. Leonard has moved from quarterback to wide receiver. While Boudreaux was a second-team quarterback in 2011, he did see significant playing time.
The Panthers also will be able to test their running game, which may be the strength of the offense. The squad has seniors Josh Engleton (6-2, 220) and Luis Hernandez (6-0, 220) to tote the pigskin. Engleton carried 29 times for 235 yards and a score in 2011, while Hernandez is a transfer student from Mississippi. Junior Raheem Colar returns after a strong season before he was injured.
On defense, Brodie’s linebacking corps, which he said “have the potential to be the best group I have ever coached,” will get their first test of live action this fall.