Without spring practice, Lanett shifts focus to the weight room

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022

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By Noah Patheja

The Lanett Panthers won’t have any official spring practices, so they will put their work into conditioning and the weight room before summer workouts.

Head Coach Clifford Story mentioned how attrition played a key role in not having spring practice.

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“This is the first year in a long time where I have a lot of kids that play football, basketball and run track,” Story said. “I just look at their body language. They’re tired. Even when they’re in the weight room, they’re struggling. I just see the need this year to give them a little of a break.”

The good news for Lanett’s football program is it can start fall practice a week early and focus more on getting ready closer to the season. Story mentioned how the lack of spring practice won’t change his program’s identity.

“We’re going to be Lanett,” Story said. “We’re going to be competitive. We’re going to be strong. We’re going to be athletic. We’re going to have a good offensive line. We’re going to have a lot of leadership.”

The Panthers will be dealing with a little bit of inexperience as they only have seven seniors this year compared to 20 from last year.

“They’re really stepping up to the plate to have a successful senior season,” Story said. “I like the grind. I like how they’re pushing the younger guys. I just love their attitude for their success.”

Story mentioned four senior leaders including linebacker Taysean Darden, lineman Cameron Sutton, defensive end Donahvan Dyer and quarterback Jarrious Goodman. Senior leadership is important for the Panthers, especially since their backfield will consist of two freshmen and a sophomore.

Lanett may have some areas they need to work on, but Story isn’t expecting anything less than competing for a state title.

“We’re carrying a 33-game win streak for regional games,” Story said. “The first thing we need to do is win the region because it puts you in good position for the playoffs. We’re a championship program. We don’t shy away from what we want to achieve. We’re going to be Lanett.”

Story mentioned he has lots of faith in his returning players and his staff to win another state championship. Lanett made the quarterfinals of the AHSAA 2A state playoffs last year, but it won the 1A state championship in 2019.