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Competition between receivers, defensive backs fuels El Dorado practices

by Tony Burns | September 1, 2021 at 9:15 p.m.

Football fans in Union County who’d like to watch the best one-on-one receiver vs. cornerback match up in the state might not have to drive far.

El Dorado believes it will field one of the best receiving corps around this season and two of the best cornerbacks as well.

Junior receiver DeAndra Burns, Jr., and senior cornerback Mario Ganter are both highly-regarded college prospects. They match up every day in the Wildcats’ practice.

Overall, the wide receiver vs. defensive backs competition in practice at El Dorado might be better than fans will see on most Friday nights.

“They go at it every day. Whether we’re in pads or in shells or in shorts, our skill guys compete,” said El Dorado head coach Steven Jones. “We go a lot of one-on-one, two-on-two drills. They compete against one another all off-season, all summer. I’m looking forward to seeing us play against somebody else because those guys compete really hard. The results of that is both sides of the ball have improved.”

In the old iron sharpens iron philosophy, two solid units have created even bigger strengths.

“You catch yourself in practice just being amazed at how athletic our receivers are and how athletic our corners and safeties are,” said El Dorado defensive coordinator Trey Outlaw. “You’re watching an SEC receiver in DeAndra Burns go against our secondary. The guys are holding their own with him and the other guys and it’s not because of a lack of talent from our receivers, for sure. It’s because those guys are really good. It’s fun to watch.

“The competition is good. You see coaches getting into it. You see players getting into it. It really breeds excellence.”

In Burns and senior Jackie Washington, the Wildcats boast a pair of receivers who will enter the season with Division I offers already on the table.

Coach Outlaw warned, don’t sleep on El Dorado’s secondary.

“Everybody talks about DeAndra or Jackie, and rightfully so. They deserve it,” he said. “But, our secondary has held their ground against those guys. The future is really bright for those guys with Marquees Waller, Rykel Williams heading up the safety spots and Bryson (Bolden) and Mario at the corners. I think we’ve got four really good (defensive backs) there and Josh Hayes is the rotator guy who can play corner and can play safety. He’s not a backup in my eyes. He’s a starter along with those guys because he’s every bit as talented as them and also Tyree Kendrick at cornerback.”

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