El Dorado will showcase its entire football program Friday with the annual Purple-White Game at Memorial Stadium. The event begins at 6 p.m. with the introduction of players and cheerleaders from grades 7-12.
Each team will have a brief scrimmage. The varsity Wildcats will take the field at approximately 8 p.m.
“We’ll start out and kick off and go through a lot of special teams on air. We’ll go good-on-good for a few rounds, get ones against ones and then rotate twos,” said El Dorado coach Steven Jones. “Twos will probably get more playing time on Friday. We’re still trying to find that extra depth, maybe trying to identify one more guy that can help us next week against North Little Rock. We want to see our backup guys probably get double the reps of the ones Friday.”
Jones said the varsity will run between 60 and 65 plays.
El Dorado has already had two live scrimmages this preseason. There’s been no shortage of physicality.
“We’ve had periods throughout the day where we’ve been good on good and run the starters against each other. But as far as scrimmages, we’ve only had two days. So far, I like where we’re at,” Jones said.
“I think defensively we have a lot of speed on that side of the ball, especially in the secondary. We’ve got some guys who can make plays back there. I’ve talked about Ganter and Bolden, another guy that’s stepped up is Rakel Williams. He’s been a very physical player. He’s been a bright spot. At linebacker, Danquez Shelton continues to improve each week at that outside linebacker spot.”
A question mark exiting the spring was the team’s offensive line. The Wildcats addressed the situation.
“Offensive line may be the most improved group on our team. I’m going back to the spring game. The spring game, we left with some real concerns up front, just youth there and not really knowing what our lineup would look like as far as who’s going to play where,” said Jones. “There have been some guys step up that we’re really pleased with. Starting out with Cam Davis, a senior playing guard and some center for us. Cam has had a good fall camp. He’s a big, physical player. Another bright spot has been the athleticism of Jamaal Green, who’s potentially right guard or right tackle. Those two guys have stood out over the last couple of weeks.”
El Dorado bolstered the offensive line by moving Japhen Baker, Andrew Clawson and Elijah Bivens over from the defensive side.
From an injury standpoint, receiver Connor Black has been out with hopes he can return for the season opener. Black is also a leading candidate at the deep snapper position.
Overall, Jones said there’s been a lot to like after the first couple of weeks of fall practice.
“We’ve had a lot of physical periods over the past week. Our guys have responded well to that. Bodies were a little bit tired (Tuesday). We’ve been pretty well beating each other up over the past week and a half,” he said. “We like where we’re at as far as the physical. We’ve spent a lot of time on tackling. We feel good about getting into a normal routine as far as practice schedule goes.”
El Dorado will travel to North Little Rock for next week’s benefit scrimmage before opening the season with road games at Camden Fairview and Cabot. The Purple-White could be the last time home fans see the Cats in about a month.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a packed out Memorial Stadium,” said Jones. “We didn’t get a chance to have everybody there last year. The response so far with the excitement from the community, I think there’s going to be a lot of people there Friday night. We hope for a big crowd. The Purple-White game is one of our biggest fundraisers. It helps us throughout the season. We would love to have as many out there as possible supporting us. I’m looking forward to it.”