LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Hamilton Christian Warriors have been in a bit of a slump the past three years. The Warriors have just five wins since 2016, but former LaGrange coach Jules Sullen is aiming to change that. As the players adjust to his way, he’ll do so to the 1A level.
"It's been a big adjustment as you know having a limited amount of kids. You have to be really creative and modify your practices," admitted Sullen. "You have to make sure kids get the proper fluids in them because they are going primarily both ways."
One thing Sullen won't mind getting used to is the speed the Warriors posses. Hamilton now has numerous members off the Warriors state runner-up basketball team and so, at the offensive skill positions, HCS feels like they can matchup up with any team at the 1A level.
"I think speed is our advantage. We have a plethora of running backs as well. The thing is to try and get the ball to guys in space and allow them to make plays," said Sullen. "We have a quarterback Mike Tizano has been doing a fantastic job in understanding his reads."
And a lot falls on Mike Tizano's shoulders to lead this offense again. His growth since last season is apparent.
"This year he has been coached up a whole lot more and he's learning the position a lot better," admitted lineman Kyler Dimas. "He's learning how to read the field most importantly."
Another expected strength is the size up front on the line. HCS has three linemen that come in at 260 pounds or heavier.
"I am pretty impressed myself with Kendrick Fontenot, Troye Collins and Mylin Lewis," Sullen admitted."Many times they've said in the past they had to go both ways without any rest. Now, we have a couple of guys that truly only play one side of the ball. It allows us the opportunity to sub with this heat at the beginning of the season."
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The defense will see a lot of the same names. Linebacker Derrick Williams has been one of the defensive leaders along with guys like Dakori Lewis, Michael Thomas and Nick Forsythe.
"I feel like with the new defensive scheme our coaches put in, will be a spectacular team playing defense and stopping the scoring against us, said lineman Troye Collins. "We have a four-man front and we have a five-man in front at times which is going to be a good advantage for us for rushing and we also have good enough defensive backs to play the passing game."
The Warriors are hoping it all comes together this season and they can get back to the winning ways of the past. The mindset starts with how the team breaks down huddles. The team’s focus is apparent with a chant of, ‘1, 2, 3! Make it to the playoffs.’
"You set your eyes on a large target and hopefully we can achieve that and I think we will," Sullen said. "I think that eventually as the season begins, they are going to understand how close they are to making that goal come true."
“With the way that we have turned everything around, I feel like we will be able to get back to the playoffs,” said Collins, “and even compete in the state championship.”