It’s said that knowledge is power, and in its third year of existence, the Lakeview Academy football program is hoping that statement comes to fruition.
The Lions have worked this summer on the intricacies of the game in an effort to compensate for the loss of standouts Haughton Carswell, Nick Saye and Austin White.
"We’ve improved most this summer on our knowledge of the game," said Lakeview football coach Matthew Gruhn. "Having that knowledge will help (the team) execute on Friday nights."
Gruhn noted that for the first time since the program started, the older players are able to be coaches on the field: notably, Jordan Chastain, Lex Little and Tom Drury.
"They’ve really stepped up this summer and did in the spring as well," Gruhn said. "They are showing great leadership and are ready to go.
"They know they need to be and are ready to be bigtime players for us this year."
"It’s nice to now be able to rely on the trickle-down theory," he added. "To not have to coach the little things as much because we now have guys who’ve been in the program long enough to understand what we want and expect and are able to pass that on."
Like most of the other programs in and around the county, the Lions began workouts once school ended. Unlike most programs, however, the school’s smaller enrollment means the football team takes a hit when basketball and baseball camps get going.
"In the month of June we didn’t do as much as a team because our kids are active in other sports," Gruhn said. "We picked it up in July, though."
According to the third-year coach, as the program builds they try to do a little more each summer and that included a lineman camp and team offense camp at Commerce this year.
"It’s great for our team to work with guys from other schools that have been playing football for a long time," Gruhn said. "They are always a little intimidated at first, but it’s motivating too because where those guys are, is where we want this program to be."
And the current crop of Lions know they are laying the groundwork for the program’s future success.
"I’m encouraged," Gruhn said. "Every summer has been better and we’ve come a long way in a couple of summers.
"It’s fun to see that."
Always the realist, however, Gruhn knows the program still has a long way to go to reach its goal of consistency in the win column year in and year out.
"Our goal is to compete better than we did last year," Gruhn said. "I think we’re going to do that and that’s exciting for me, the rest of the coaching staff and the team."