• 55°
Rashad Milligan | Times-News GO: Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr. watches a group of his players sprint at the end of Tuesday morning’s workout.

Lanett football returns to summer workouts

LANETT — After a brief break for the fourth of July holiday, the Lanett Panthers football team returned to workouts this week. 

“The summer has been really great,” Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr. said. “We’re doing some things that I was really expecting from our seniors, which is some leadership. They’re showing a lot of senior leadership. [Wide receiver] Quae Houston and [running back]  B.J. Smith’s names jump to my head because they have really been showing leadership ever since we have started spring practice.”

Story also said that a characteristic that he admires about Houston and Smith is that the seniors don’t complain.

“If I still kept them out there for hours, they’d still run,” Story said. “I have a great group of kids who are working extremely hard.”

Story said that he’s been pleased with the Panthers’ focus this summer, and that he wants to continue to polish the linemen to finish out the workout period.

The team begins workouts at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and continue to approximately 11:15 a.m., ending each session with sprints. The players encourage one another during each set to finish strong, and to stay engaged with the team between sets. 

On Wednesday morning, Lanett hosts Beulah for a 7-on-7 workout, which will begin at 9 a.m. EDT. Story said that the Panthers will probably wrap up 7-on-7s for the summer against LaFayette and Chambers Academy.

“I don’t like to do a lot with 7-on-7, but I know that we need it for the kind of football that we play,” Story said. “We’ll compete against them and then start settling down for the season. We’ll clean up details around here and get ready for the first official practice [on Aug. 5].”

Story and Chambers Academy head football coach Jason Allen aren’t strangers to working together. Story, a LaFayette native, said that he played little league baseball with Allen, and they still keep in consistent communication with one another. The two coaches have the last two state football titles in the area, with Chambers Academy winning in AISA Class 1A in 2018 and Lanett winning in AHSAA Class 2A in 2017.

“If we play against each other, we know we’re going to compete, that’s just in our nature,” Story said. “However, overall, all coaches have a great deal of respect for each other, they know each other, they look out for each other for the kids so I have a great deal of respect for Coach Allen…I feel like we can all help each other get better. At the end of the day on Friday night, as long as we’re not competing against each other, I think we’re cheering for each other.”

Eyes in the recruiting world may be on Lanett on July 18, the day senior Kristian Story previously said that he’d announce his commitment. Story is a four-star athlete, and has been ranked the No. 1 Class of 2020 athlete in the state of Alabama. The final five list that he announced on March 31 includes LSU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Notre Dame and Tennessee. 

“I’m very happy for him,” Coach Story said. “When you raise a kid, you see their dream and you start to see things come in place…I always tell them that a dream is just a dream until you write it down. He wrote his dream down, and that’s one thing that I saw him check off, was to be able to play SEC football.”