• 34°
Lanett celebrates after a defensive stop earlier in the playoffs.

One less day to prepare: Lanett gets ready for Thursday’s championship game in Auburn

Routines and preparation are always important, but they become imperative when crucial moments happen in a season or in life.

That is true especially in athletics. Some athletes have the same schedule every week during the season.

Lanett will have its routine changed this week, as the Panthers play in Jordan Hare Stadium on Thursday in the 1A State Championship game.

“It was a little different because we had to change meeting times and practice schedules and things like that,” Story said.

“But the excitement of playing in the state championship game, you always adjust to make it fit. So, this isn’t a big deal for us because we played a game here earlier on Thursday, so the preparation was similar to that.”

In its earlier Thursday game, Lanett destroyed Billingsley High School 56-0 in its last game of the regular season.

Since the Panthers are an experienced team that has made it deep into the playoffs the last three years, Story isn’t worried about the change in the schedule.

He is relying on his multi-sport athletes to make a big difference in the preparation for the younger players.

“It’s going be a little different, but we got a lot of kids that have played basketball,” Story said. “They’re used to being able to do things different than normal, so that their leadership and their experience are really going to help some guys that haven’t done it.”

Part of the change is the last practice and walkthrough right before the game. The Panthers will have their 9 a.m. walk-through at W.O Lance Elementary School, so the kids can watch. After the walkthrough, they will have a sendoff at the high school at 10:30 a.m. in front of the school.

They will then take the short drive to Opelika to practice.

Then, they will play the game on Thursday at Jordan-Hare. This is the first time the Panthers will play in the stadium. Even though they haven’t played there before, several of the Panthers have the experience of playing at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

In that game two years ago, Lanett won its only state championship on a snow-covered field in Tuscaloosa.

“We’re all excited,” Story said. “Any time you can play in Alabama’s or Auburn’s stadium you’re going to be excited. Both are large universities here in the state. We’re excited to be able to go and play in such a large stadium and play so close to home. It’s really going to be a home away from home for us, because, just for our community, they don’t have to drive here to come and watch us play. So we’re excited, excited and to be able to perform on that stage.”