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Hiring Lee Shaw as head coach has given Lakeview Academy’s football program a shot of adrenaline.
One of the state’s most successful coaches over the past 15 years, the former Flowery Branch High coach was tabbed to take over the Lions’ program March 6, just one year removed from a seven-year run at Rabun County. Shaw initially retired after a trip to the state quarterfinals at Rabun County in 2018, handing off the Wildcats’ program to his son Jaybo, who was quarterback for his father at Flowery Branch.
Shaw has guided every team he’s coached to the postseason since 2005, including a trip to the state championship game at Flowery Branch (2008) and Rabun County (2017).
Now the 30-year coaching veteran is looking to put in a blueprint for success with the Gainesville private school, which plays in the nine-team Region 6-A against King’s Ridge Christian, St. Francis, Fellowship Christian and Pinecrest Academy, among others.
Since starting its football program in 2007, Lakeview Academy has yet to make the playoffs.
Shaw doesn’t mind one more rebuilding project in his career, which also included a five-year stint as White County’s head coach from 1995-99.
Lakeview Academy went 2-7 last season and last experienced a winning mark in 2012, when it went 6-2.
“My past has been where I have gravitated to those programs that need a boost,” said Shaw. “There’s still a lot of unknowns here at Lakeview Academy with no spring football and no preseason games, but these kids are hungry for success.”
The new Lakeview Academy coach said he’ll continue to run a wide-open offense where he tries to get the ball in his playmakers hands. The Lions will have either senior Ben Puckett or senior Jesse Whiting, who transferred from Jackson County, at quarterback when the season opens against Mount Paran Christian on Friday in Gainesville.
“This is the same offense I’ve run since 2006 at Flowery Branch,” Shaw said. “But it’s not just throwing the ball all over the place.”
Shaw said both will be instrumental in the offense, regardless of which one wins the starting quarterback job.
“They’re both really good athletes and will be part of our entire scheme,” Shaw said.
At running back, Lakeview Academy will feature senior Bodie Blackwell, along with sophomores Landon Hanes and Luke Cooper. At wide receiver, Sam Perrott, Skyler Thellman and James Michael Harrison are going to be the primary targets.
With a roster of only 32 players, Shaw is getting creative with keeping players well versed on playing both sides of the ball. On the line of scrimmage, Christian Haynes and Parker Allen are ready to play offense and defense. With some time, Shaw wants to identify guys up front who he can count on to specialize on either offense or defense.
Cooper and Haynes will be starting linebackers.
The Lions should be excited about the future under Shaw.
Since 2006, the new Lions coach has put together 11 seasons with at least 10 victories.
To fill out his staff, Shaw has brought in many of his former players, including former Flowery Branch defensive lineman Izaaan Cross, who went on to a successful career at Georgia Tech, as defensive line coach. Offensive line coach Tom Hall and linebackers coach John Cumiskey both have head-coaching experience in their background.
1. Andrew Pope WR/LB Jr.
2. Landon Hanes RB/LB So.
4. Skyler Thellman WR/LB Sr.
5. Conley Millwood WR/LB Sr.
6. Sam Perrott WR/DB Jr.
7. Luke Cooper RB/LB So.
8. Ben Puckett QB/DB Sr.
9. Arshaq Ali WR/DB Sr.
10. Bodie Blackwell RB/DB Sr.
11. James Harrison WR/DB Sr.
12. Toni Reyes WR/DB So.
14. Jesse Whiting WR/LB Sr.
15. Bryce Ramsey K Fr.
17. Cannon Deringer WR/DB Fr.
21. Drew Grabau WR/LB Sr.
22. Kastian Haynes WR/DL Fr.
23. Roman Yaskulka RB/LB Sr.
24. Tyler Peck WR/DB Sr.
25. Jacob Davenport WR/DB Fr.
32. Griffin Brock WR/LB Sr.
50. Jack Williams OL/DL Sr.
51. Christian Haynes OL/DL Sr.
52. Hunter Allen OL/DL Jr.
54. Stuart Daniel OL/DL Fr.
60. Liam Plaisted OL/DL Fr.
61. Sam Carter OL/DL Jr.
65. Thomas Berry OL/DL So.
66. Evan Yaskulka OL/DL Fr.
70. Hamil Owens OL/DL Jr.
71. Tanner Allen OL/DL Jr.
75. Charlie Peck OL/DL Fr.
77. Parker Allen OL/DL Sr.
September 4 MOUNT PARAN CHRISTIAN
September 11 at Darlington
September 25 WALKER
October 2 TOWNS COUNTY
October 9 at Coosa
October 16 at Fellowship Christian
October 23 KING’S RIDGE CHRISTIAN
October 30 MOUNT PISGAH CHRISTIAN
November 13 ST. FRANCIS
November 20 PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN