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Lake City High School

Lake City just misses on postseason berth

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Lake CityLake City football coach Terrell Fleming thought his team might take a step back this season after several key players graduated. The Panthers went 3-7 overall, but finished in a three-way tie for third place in the region with a 2-3 mark. However, due to a tiebreaker, the team was left out of the postseason.

“We had our chances to make the playoffs. All we had to do was win. I don’t really get into all that tiebreaker stuff. It would have been nice to make the playoffs, but we didn’t do what we needed to do. We controlled our own destiny. If we would have won more games, we would have been fine. We’ve got to work harder, be more disciplined and get stronger,” Fleming said.

With the season coming to a close, Lake City will say goodbye to one of its top seniors. Quarterback Chris Burnett was a three-year starter that ended his career by completing 472-of-874 passes for 6,588 yards and 69 touchdowns.

“He’s meant a lot to this program. I probably should have started him during his freshman year. I’m sure he has the school-record for passing yards. He’s up there in yards and touchdowns, and helped get this program turned around,” Fleming said.

Offensive lineman Natorious Darby was one of the emotional leaders of the team and leaves a huge void in the trenches.

“This kid has done everything we’ve ever asked of him. We’re really going to miss him. He’s an unbelievable kid,” Fleming said.

Other impact seniors departing include Marquese Butler (288 rushing yards, 4 TD), Shakel Washington (337 receiving yards, 2 TD), Darien Fulton (101 tackles, 10 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Nigel Gaskins (85 tackles, 7 TFL), Deandre Henneghan (2 interceptions), Melvon Cooper and PJ Simmons.

Wide receiver Nick Jones will be one of the top returning players next fall after hauling in 48 passes for 619 yards and six touchdowns. Amod Cooke (215 rushing yards, TD) and Stefon Rose (312 receiving yards, 3 TD) are other skill players back.

 Defensively, Savion Player, Darius Gamble, Keith Rose and Marquel McKnight will be relied upon moving forward.

“We didn’t have many juniors on the team. There were a lot of sophomores and freshmen,” Fleming said. “We’ll be young, but hopefully we’ll be competitive.”

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