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Laurence Manning High School
Manning

 

Injury-plagued season comes to an end for LMA football

By Justin Driggers

Consulting Editor

Manning – For head coach Robbie Briggs and his Laurence Manning Academy football team, 2018 was a season of what might have been.

The Swampcats began the year with what Briggs felt was one of his stronger teams, and the early returns were encouraging. LMA started the season 4-0 and was outscoring opponents 182-56.

But it was around Week 5 with a 26-7 loss to First Baptist that the injury bug began to bite the Swampcats – and they never really recovered.

“From about Week 5 on, we had at least three starters out,” Briggs said. “We had anywhere from three to nine. I don’t know if in the last five years we’ve had that many out. But no one’s going to feel sorry for us and it’s one of those things that happens.

“You just have to deal with it and move on.”

After a three-game losing streak, the Swampcats rebounded to win their last two regular-season games and head into the playoffs for a rematch with Cardinal Newman.

LMA started strong with a 14-0 lead, but eventually the Cardinals rebounded to earn a 40-14 victory. The ‘Cats finished the season 6-4 overall.

“From about halftime on, we had about eight kids playing both ways and special teams,” Briggs said. “We just ran out of gas and started missing some tackles. They just wore us down in the second half.

“But for the second week in a row, considering the number of injuries we had, our kids played hard and battled until the end.”

LMA had nine starters out against the Cardinals, including a number of their top players on both sides of the ball. Wyatt Rowland, Grayson Gamble and Garrett Black were all key cogs missing offensively while Brad Goodson, Shayne Stephens and Cody Embree were missing pieces defensively.

“I was really pleased with the way guys stepped in the last few weeks – especially our seniors,” Briggs said. “Brewer Brunson really put the team on his back the last couple weeks. He rushed for about 170 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns (against Cardinal Newman).

Jake Jordan had a great senior year and did a lot of good things for us. Brad Goodson and Grayson Gamble were outstanding for us the entire year. They were two of the better defensive linemen in the entire league.”

Jay Godwin also had a strong campaign along the offensive line in his senior season.

“We’ve had these guys for a number of years and lot of them have played on teams that played for state championships,” Briggs said. “We’ve made it to the semifinals each of the last few years, so to not make it this year was disappointing and disappointing for them.”

 

Young LMA cross country squads eye bigger goals in 2019

By Justin Driggers

Consulting Editor

Manning – Second-year Laurence Manning Academy cross country coach Jodi Danback had a pair of relatively young squads this year with five new runners on the girls side and three new on the boys side.

Still, she was pleased with where the Swampcats eventually wound up at the end of the season.

“I had a lot of new runners this year – there’s some turnover sometimes with this sport,” Danback said. “But I feel like we finished well overall. The meet that we hosted here at our school – we finished in first place. So, we were very excited about that.

“We’ve made a lot of progress since last season, and now we’re just looking to have an even better season next year and go to state.”

The weather cut short the season as the Swampcats competed in just four meets including their own.

“We were very disappointed that we were only able to compete in a handful of meets,” Danback said. “We’re hoping next year that the weather holds out better for us and everyone else.”

The boys squad had nine total runners that helped the Swampcats capture first place at the LMA Invitational. Sophomore AJ Nelson, a brand-new runner, also finished first overall. Brody Secocky, an eighth-grader and a new runner as well, also had a strong season, Danback said.

“I think most of the (returners) ran pretty much like they had last year, so we’re hoping to improve that going forward,” she said. “I’ve talked with some of the other coaches in the area about getting together and training and I think that will really help us field a solid boys team next year.”

Senior Hershal Pate is the lone runner graduating next season. Other members included junior Shaw Schuessler, sophomores Logan Shotwell and Elliott Harris and freshmen William Buyck, TJ Hicks and Charlie McGraw.

On the girls side, Emma Danback was the lone returner. Senior Sarah Faye Turner had a good season, coach Dunback said, and was likely the fastest this season. First-year runner and sophomore Yesha Patel was the most improved throughout the season.

Other members included Hannah Fraser, Bre Finney and Sina Patel.

The Lady Swampcats took third place at the region meet.

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