The Minden offense got off to a sputtering start to begin this season.
The Crimson Tide rode their defense to 17 points against Southwood, followed by 10 against Haughton and then finally breaking the 20-point mark against North Webster thanks to a Cameron Morgan pick six and a successful two-point conversion on a busted play.
Some of the struggles could be attributed to something simple like how early it is in the season or the quality of the opponents faced in that three game span, but it would be foolish to ignore the impact of senior stud L’Jarius Sneed.
Sneed missed the Tide’s first three contests with a facial injury. Last week against Fair Park, Sneed made his season debut and it proved to be worth the wait. Carrying just four times, Sneed totaled 94 yards and two touchdowns to go with 4 catches for 60 yards as the Tide topped the Indians 35-8.
The dynamic playmaker also opened things up for his teammates, as junior receiver Tavarius Edwards caught six passes for 70 yards and a score while Minden rushed for 221 yards including a rushing touchdown for quarterback Antonio Rivette.
Sneed said he enjoyed being back on the field to help his teammates win.
“It was my first time back out there and before the game I was kind of afraid,” Sneed admitted. “‘But when I’m on the field, I always play with no fear.”
In a sit down interview with Minden head coach Spencer Heard last week, Heard hinted that Sneed would see an expanded role on offense and that the senior playmaker would be good for two touchdowns.
“He adds some explosiveness to our offense,” Heard said. “I think what you’ll see moving forward is that it’s going to open things up for our other receivers and running backs and make us tougher to stop.”
Sneed saw limited action on offense his junior season, doing most of his damage in the return game, while also picking off seven passes from his free safety spot.
But with Sneed’s absence in the first three games, Minden’s defense stepped up, and perhaps being a bit reluctant to mess with the chemistry on that side of the ball, Heard has made a commitment to playing his best athlete on offense in order to generate some points.
That’s just fine with Sneed.
“Coach wants me to make more plays on offense this year,” Sneed said. “The defense is really locked down with what they’ve got right now, but our offense just needed a little bit of help. We’re going to be very explosive and I’m hoping to make a big impact.”
Sneed has set himself up to make an impact at the next level as well, with college offers coming in from schools such as Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Nicholls State and Arkansas State, and if he keeps producing at this pace, more schools will surely fall in line.