New motto, late teammate motivates LaFayette this season

Published 9:23 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019

OPELIKA  — LaFayette High School followed opened up its media day presser on Tuesday morning with a new motto from head football coach James Lucas.

“This senior class came in this offseason, and they’ve put together a plan to ‘be nation great,’” Lucas said. “That’s our motto for this year, be nationally known. The reason why is because, in the past, we’ve been getting to the quarterfinal, the semifinal losing. I had a conversation with one of the weight training guys and I told him that we need to do something different. He asked me what I was telling them, and I said ‘be state great.’ He said that when you tell them to be state great, that brings the ceiling a little lower, so they’re bumping their head on the ceiling and they can’t breakthrough. He told me that you need to be on the national standard. I went back and told the guys that everything we’re going to do is going to be nation great. We’re not looking for state, we’re going to be local for national attention.”

Seniors Ke’Andrae Peterson, Jordan Walker and sophomore Antavious Woody represented the Bulldogs alongside Lucas at the media event.

Email newsletter signup

An all-state selection on defense, Walker steps into the starting quarterback role this season, a position that he’s previously held playing youth football.

“The challenge for me had to learn the quarterback position,” Walker said. “For me playing defense, safety, I really got to sit back there and really read the quarterback. It’s not that difficult for me because I know a few things from being a safety so I carried that to being a quarterback and it came naturally.”

All three of LaFayette’s representatives from Tuesday are expected to be key members of the Bulldogs’ defense this season that’s replacing all-state players Lajareon Bryant, Trevor Vines and JaQuavian Boston-Gaines. Woody is a player that Lucas expects to break out this season after earning an invite to a junior camp at Auburn University from Gus Malzahn.

“We want to take the next step and win a state championship,” Peterson said. “We’ve been coming up short, but this year we feel like we can go all the way.”

The Bulldogs will be playing with a No. 20 sticker on their helmets to honor Azerious “Zae” Brooks. Brooks died at the age of 19 and finished his senior season playing on the Bulldogs football team in 2017. The No. 20, Brooks’ number at LaFayette, will be retired this season.

“It means a lot [to honor him],” Walker said. “It really hurt us to see him go away like that, so we’re going to dedicate this season to him. We’re going to leave it all out on the field for him and we’re trying to go all the way for him. He meant a lot to us. He was like a big brother to us, and he meant a lot to the community. Great kid, great person to hang with, so the best  we can do is go out and leave it all on the field for him and honor his number each and every game.”