Lanett Looks for Another Run at 2A State Title
Posted On:
Monday, August 21, 2017
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    LANETT —  Led by the return of 16 starters (7 on offense, 9 on defense)
and a wealth of skill personnelon both sides of the ball, coach Clifford
Story’s 2017 Lanett football team is primed once again to make arun for state
glory this fall. Lanett went 11-3 in 2016 and fell to Fyffe at home in the 2A
semifinals. The stinging defeat at Morgan-Washburn Stadium will be fuel for
the fire for a highly-skilled Lanett team fo- cused on improving each week,
peaking at the right time and hopefully earning a trip Bryant-Denny Stadium  
and  the  2A  state  championship  game  come early December.
    Story  will  have  to  replace  all-state  quarterback Tre Story, oldest
son of the head coach, who capped a terrific,  three-year  career  as  the  
Panthers  signalcaller. Tre had solid seasons in 2014 and 2015 but he was
off-the-charts, Tom Brady-like good last season, particularly the second-half
of the year in Lanett’s run. From Game 10 onward, Story might have been the best
and most efficient quarterback in the state.
     In  the  state  playoffs,  he  was  magnificent  in  all areas. He threw for
41 TDs last fall and 73 scores in his career but he’s moved on to the college ranks at
the University of Richmond, an FCS powerhouse and perennial Top-10 ranked program.
    Lanett is ranked No. 3 in the preseason ASWA 2A poll and is well deserving of
the high accolades.
        Replacing  Story  at  quarterback  will  be  another Story, Kristan “KenKen,”
a strong-armed sophomore with  a  cannon  of  a  right  arm.  Kristan  has  all  the
skills to be a top-notch quarterback but just needs more  game  experience.  That’s
not  to  say  he  hasn’t seen a lot of action already and has in fact. He played
some as an eighth grader on both sides of the ball and contributed  with  an  
outstanding  and  equally  eyeopening freshman campaign, including tallying nine
interceptions at safety. Story will be the starter while another  sophomore,  Quae
Houston,  will  provide depth and is a good athlete.
    “We’re trying to focus on being a disciplined team,” said coach Story, the dean
of local coaches and entering his ninth season. He and his staff have put together  
an  outstanding  program,  now  consistently knocking on the door for state honors.
His 2017 edition — if they play up to their potential and stay disciplined and focused
 — could very well play for the hardware in December. “If we can do what we need to and
be consistent, play smart and good execution on both sides of the ball, we’ll be fine,”
Story said.
"I like our team and what we can do. We return seven on offense and have some great
skill guys and playmakers. We also have nine back on defense, so I’m excited about
what we can do in being physical, creating turnovers and scoring opportunities. I like
our kids and what we can do on both sides of the ball. I think we can create a number
of matchup problems for opponents not only on offense but our defense can cash in and
make big plays,” Story said.
    Lanett’s offensive backfield will be strong led by senior tailback Jawon Howell, who
is coming off a big season and is a quality athlete. His back up, Story noted, will be
sophomore Zion Lynch while junior Todricus Askew will also see time as well. It’s a
good group and Howell is one of the most underrated players in the region. Look for a
big senior season from the hard-nosed youngster.
    The offensive line will include junior transfer Johnny Daniels at center, senior Tris-
tian Meadows at left guard, senior Baraskious “Boo-Rock” Dowdell at left tackle while
junior D’ Terrain Glaze will handle the right guard post and freshman Perry Jones at
the right tackle spot. One of the keys to the season will be solid and consistent play
from the front line. Solid blocking and pass protection will be huge for Lanett’s front
wall.
    Others who will figure in the mix on the offensive line include junior Kane Brum-
baugh at right tackle, junior Ahjacense “AJ” Jackson at left and right guard spots, jun-
ior Javauntae Winston at left guard and junior Kentavious Johnson at the left tackle
position. Two others in the mix include junior Lavauntae McCullough and Daniels.
    Wideouts will be Lanett’s biggest strength on offense and the Panthers have two of
the best in all of AHSAA football in a pair of sensational seniors with Terrion “Ty” Tru-
itt at flanker and Anquaevius “Long” Pollard at split end. Truitt is a gamechanger and
threat to score from anywhere on the field while Pollard, who’s 6-7, is matchup problem
for anyone. Truitt had 38 receptions for 711 yards and eight TDs last fall. Pollard had
one of the greatest seasons in AHSAA history last season with 47 receptions for almost
1,000 yards and 23 scoring receptions. Pollard has 96 career receptions for 1,684 yards
and 39 TDs. He’s has a plethora of college scholarship offers in both football and bas-
ketball. He’s been the dominant player in the state in 2A basketball and helped lead
Lanett to back-to-back state championships and odds-on favorite for a “3-peat” this
winter as well.
    At H-Back will be senior all-purpose player Braylon Harrington while senior Keavis
Sands could also see playing time. Providing depth behind Pollard is senior Jalen Ross
while junior ballhawk Trikweze Bridges and Tifton “Dee” Dobbs can also play big roles
as  well.  It’s  a  sensational  group  of  skilled  athletes  and  can  create  a  
multitude  of matchup problems for any defense.
    “We have a great group of guys returning, who all provide leadership,” Story said.
“I expect our seniors to provide leadership and help the young guys grow up and grasp
our schemes. I like what we can do and how we can attack opponents.”
    Specialists include sophomore Rovilan Castro as the placekicker and punter while
Dobbs will be the long snapper and Truitt may help as well. Truitt will be the top punt
return man for Lanett while junior Kaleb Thomas could see time. Kick returners in-
clude Howell and Lynch.
    On defense, Lanett returns nine and is a strong unit throughout with experience
and physical play. Meadows will be the noseguard, Glaze will hold down one of the de-
fensive end posts and Dowdell will be the other end. It’s a talented group and physical.
Backups and depth include McCullough at noseguard, Brumbaugh at defensive end,
Winston also at end and Johnson will also be in the mix as well.
    At linebacker, Harrington will hold down the middle position with Daniels and How-
ell providing depth. Askew will be at the WILL post, Sands will be at the SAM position
while freshman Kelvin Zachery can see action as well. The outside ’backer posts include
Lynch and Dobbs, Ross and junior Mekaylen Dunn.
        In  the  defensive  secondary,  Truitt  will  start  at  one  corner  post  with  
freshman Larontavious Hurston for depth, Story will also play corner in addition to being
the starting quarterback but he’s been terrific in the secondary. He has 12 career intercep-
tions — three as an eighth grader and nine picks last year as a freshman. Behind Story
will be freshman Austin Moody. A junior free safety and one of the premiere players in
all of AHSAA football is Bridges, who has 17 career interceptions, including 11 last
season and six in back-to-back playoff games. He’s a ballhawk and at 6-5, is intimidat-
ing and a truly elite player and gamechanger. Behind Bridges will be Houston, a ver-
satile player on both sides of the ball.
    “We have nine back on defense, so it’s a veteran group and we expect big things from
them this fall,” Story said. “The kids know our system and think we can do a lot more
than we did last year. Our kids know what it takes to make a run in the state playoffs.
It hurt losing to Fyffe as we had our chances and probably played them closer than
anyone all year. We want to put ourselves in position to make another run and can do
that if we play at a very high level for all 15 weeks. That’s our goal is to play 15 games
and win a state championship.”

CREDIT: SCOTT SICKLER (Times-News Sports Editor)

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