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Lake City High School

Lake City football dealing with youth, inexperience

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Lake City—It was a bit of a heartbreaking season for the Lake City football team in 2017, as the Panthers came up just short of making the playoffs.  Unfortunately, most of that group graduated, leaving behind a bunch of young, inexperienced players.

Lake City head coach Terrell Fleming was a bit disappointed with the turnout during spring practice, with roughly 40 players in attendance, but feels that between 55 and 60 will participate in summer workouts.

“We learned a lot.  We changed some things up on defense a little bit, and we made some slight changes on offense to help our quarterback,” Fleming said.  “It was good because we were able to do a lot of teaching.  We’re really young so I think that will pay dividends.  We’ve got some talent, just not experience.  Once we get our offensive line to jell, we should be a decent football team.”

The Panthers didn’t bring back many starters from last year, with only four returning on the offensive side of the ball.  Wide receiver Nick Jones had 48 catches for 619 yards and six touchdowns while fellow receiver Stefon Rose hauled in 20 passes for 312 yards and three scores.

Left tackle Clint Caldwell anchors the offensive line and recently bench pressed 290 pounds.  Center Darius Hanna returns up front as well.  Newcomers Ty Jones, Trent Canty and Gary Speights will each get a chance to start in the trenches.

Austin Montgomery takes over at quarterback after starting for the jayvee team the previous three years.  Shaquan Epps and JiTravious Sherrills are two more targets for him at receiver.

Caldwell will also start on the defensive line alongside Darius Gamble, who had 46.5 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks last year.  Arkus Sabb may also join the fray.

Outside linebacker Savion Player (51 tackles, 10 TFL, 3 sacks) may be the leader of the defense this fall, and Shane McKenzie will be back at the second level again after missing time last year with an injury.

Safety Keith Rose is the veteran in the secondary after making 44 tackles with three interceptions.  Mel Scott should be a player to watch at cornerback.

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