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|Carroll hosts Lake Providence|
The Carroll Bulldogs begin their quest for redemption Friday night as they begin the 2009 regular season with a home contest against Lake Providence.
Carroll has struggled to just three victories in the past two years on the football field. With a large number of returning starters — 17 to be exact — this could be the year Carroll breaks back into the playoff picture.
An up-and-coming program like Lake Providence is not the easiest team to open with and will present a good measuring stick for the Carroll squad early on.
Lake Providence has made large strides the last two seasons under head coach Sonny Naisson. Naisson is familiar with Carroll after spending multiple seasons as an assistant coach at former district rival Bastrop.
Carroll has now moved into Class 3A and the challenges that await will be exciting for coaches, players, and fans alike.
Nine defensive starters, including three defensive backs, return for the Bulldogs and with the pass-happy offense of Lake Providence that certainly could be an advantage for Carroll in their opening ball game.
Quarterback Xavier Gray is back and is expected to be one of the most explosive quarterbacks in all of Ouachita Parish this season.
Gray can get the job done with both his feet and arm and his duel-threat ability is a key again this week for Carroll to pick up a victory.
"Quarterbacks and wide reliever will be a strength for us," Carroll head coach Jackie Hamilton said. "We need to improve on special teams right now."
Zu'Brandon Brown and Pierre Martin are also back at running back. Martin had a breakout season last year before an injury slowed him down. Brown came on strong in his absence and if both stay healthy, Carroll could have one of the most improved rushing attacks in district 2-3A this season.
The defense will be lead by seniors Darren Crawford at linebacker and Edmund Johnson at cornerback who have stood out in preseason action.