Panthers seniors go out with 50-5 record

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, December 5, 2019

AUBURN — Four years ago, the Lanett football team was drastically different. The 2015 Panthers finished with a 5-5 record and finished fifth in a seven-team region. Enter the class of 2020.

This current senior class helped to make an instant impact, as the Panthers finished 11-3 and played in a class 2A semifinal game.

The seniors helped propel Lanett into the championship game in 2017, claiming the first title in program history on the snowy filed of Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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Two years later, in their last game, the 2020 class once again raised the state championship trophy, but this time it was at Jordan-Hare Stadium. All played a significant role as Lanett topped Mars Hill Bible 41-30 Thursday night.

“I’m really lost for words for them,” Lanett coach Clifford Story said. “If you watch the way they are with each other, they don’t go anywhere without each other. Their bond is so close that they are inseparable. When you see one, you’ll see the other. They are a great group of seniors and even though we don’t have many of them, they love each other.”

One of those seniors is Dametrious Johnson.

Johnson, who finished with a game-high eight tackles, wasn’t sure if he wanted to play his senior season. He didn’t participate during spring practice while he made his decision.

Story has a rule that if a player missed the spring, he couldn’t play the next season.

Johnson decided to play his senior season, but with Story’s rule, his season was in jeopardy. The other seniors pleaded with Story to let him play. The rest is history.

One of those seniors is Kristian Story. He finished with 359 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

For most of the 2020 seniors, the 41-30 win was the last time they would be playing a meaningful football game.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet. When I get to the locker room it will probably hit me, because I’ll be taking off my uniform for the last time,” Kristian said. “It was very significant to me [winning a state championship] because it was the last time out there with my brothers. I just wanted to end it on a good note and not go home sad.”

Coming into the season, the seniors knew they were one of the best classes in program history, but they wanted more.

They had already won 36 games and a championship but failing to reach that goal drove them.

“I told my uncle I had 14 games left in me, and I’m going to win all 14 of them,” Jaquarius Houston said.

Houston and the other nine seniors did just that, finishing their careers with a 50-5 record.