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HS football: Lakeview touts experience, momentum
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Lakeview Academy coach Matthew Gruhn hopes that a greatly expanded roster will lead to even more success than the Lions’ back-to-back 4-4 seasons.

The Lions open the season with a 39-man roster, 13 more than the year before, which makes it easier to go two deep without much of a drop-off along the line of scrimmage.

This season, Lakeview also has its most experienced team with 17 seniors, all of which logged varsity action last season. The starters will also look much the same as 10 return on defense and nine on offense. Gruhn says the true test this season will come when they have to respond to adversity.

"If this group can stay together, I feel like they can be a special group," Gruhn said. "Hopefully, they’ll be able to live up to the excitement that the program has created in the school."

Gruhn noticed that the tide started to turn early last season when the Lions pulled together a game-winning drive in the final two minutes against Hebron Christian after dropping their first three games of the season. Now, the Lions have pieced together back-to-back .500 seasons with hopes of their first winning campaign in 2012.


Gruhn is sticking with his bread-and-butter triple-option attack this season. He feels like it fits his personnel great, too, with the return of senior Trevor Price in the backfield, along with Carter Ross and junior Jackson Strickland to help share the carries.

"We love the triple option because it’s such an unselfish offense," Gruhn said. "Everyone has to do their part right to make it work."

The man under center this season for the Lions will be senior Ted Reynolds, who Gruhn says has great leadership abilities and a hunger for the team to be successful.

At wide receiver, a group consisting of John Cox, Jarrett Huge, Joel Larson and Thomas Paris will see most of the playing time.

Lakeview’s offensive line is not very big, but athletic enough to make the triple option work. The Lions’ biggest lineman is center Ramsey Hill (5-foot-11, 220). Offensive tackles are Chase Unger (180 pounds) on the left side, and Eric Baldwin and JT McClung on the right side.

Gruhn will be able to rotate his guards regularly with Kyle Larsen, Hunter Oliver and Paul Avery seeing most of the playing time.

Baldwin is the smallest of the offensive lineman at 160 pounds, but Gruhn considers him also one of the best.

"We’ll be able to play a two-platoon across the line," Gruhn said. "That’s good to keep kids from having to play the entire game without a break."


Just like the rest of the field, Lakeview is experienced on the defensive front. Will Kendrick (6-0, 280) is back in the middle with Matt Hayes at the other tackle spot. Alex Oliver and Joel Larson are the two outside linemen.

Linebackers are also veteran with Price (75 tackles in 2011), Carter Ross and Caleb Faulkner set to receive the majority of the playing time.

In the secondary, Cox is returning after leading the Lions with five interceptions last season and Reynolds is back at the other cornerback spot. Safeties are Paris and Carter Pinson.

Special teams

Price will handle the kick- and punt-return duties for the Lions. Larsen is slated to punt, while Chance Calderhead will do the placekicking.


The key for Lakeview Academy will be getting out to a good start. In 2010 and 2011, the Lions dropped three of the first four games, but still broke even for the season at 4-4. If they can start fast, a winning record is within reason for Lakeview with North Cobb Christian and Towns County, two teams they beat in each of the last two years, at the end of the schedule.

A winning record would be a big step for Lakeview, which hopes to make the jump into a region schedule in the near future.


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