Keondae Huguley, playable anywhere on the field
Published 10:27 am Friday, October 20, 2023
The Lanett Panthers are smack dab in the middle of a playoff race with the deciding game coming this Friday. One big name to watch in that matchup is Keondae Huguley.
Huguley has been the Swiss army knife for Lanett. His position on the field can change at any moment, and it is easier to just ask which position he has not played.
On offense, Huguley has spent most of his time at either running back or quarterback. On defense, Huguley has spent time at linebacker, safety and many other positions.
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“Just being an athlete,” Huguley said. “I feel like I could be able to play any position that I put my mind to. When they told me I was going to play this position, I just say alright I’m here.”
Huguley has seven sacks, good enough for fourth in 2A. Huguley has totaled 35 tackles on the season. On the offensive side, Huguley has rushed for 723 yards, thrown for 85 yards and totaled eight touchdowns.
Huguley’s growth this season has a lot to do with his pure athleticism, but a lot of credit is also due to his work ethic. Huguley is a tireless worker in the weight room and on the practice field. Huguley has also worked to improve as a person.
“I think I’m doing good so far,” Huguley said. “I have grown a lot as a person and especially as an athlete over the years. Me, personally, I feel like I’m doing good.”
With a 3-5 record, every week is win or go home for Lanett. This Friday’s matchup against Goshen is the team’s most important game of the season. A win against Goshen gives the Panthers the tie-breaker needed to get in the playoffs. Then, Lanett just has to beat a 1-6 Barbour County team to close out the season.
For Huguley, losing this week or next is simply not an option. Huguley is just a junior, but so many of his closest relationships are with seniors on the team. Sending those seniors off the wrong way just would not sit well with Huguley or the rest of the Panthers.
“Considering our closest friends are seniors, to see them leave, it wouldn’t be acceptable,” Huguley said.
“Just knowing that we could’ve won that one game, and we could have taken a step further. We just try to go day by day. That’s all we can do.”
Huguley does not have an imposing stature, and he does not resemble most pass rushers, but he has had a knack for getting to the quarterback. Huguley brings the mentality of making sure each quarterback thinks about the hit he delivers for the rest of the game.
“I try to deliver a kill shot every time,” Huguley said. “Just to tell him that I’m here, and I’m going to keep being here. I’m not leaving anytime soon.”
Even with the tough start to the season, the Panthers still have their sights set on winning a championship. The program has had a winning culture for such a long time, and every season is championship or bust for the players.
“Lanett is a state championship team,” Huguley said. “For us to be a part of that, that’s what we should want. A ring, nothing less.”