Huge task awaits Lawrence

Published 12:17 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MERRY HILL – Lawrence Academy will get a tough test out of the gate Friday.

The Warriors, under second-year skipper Beau Drake, will open the season with two-time defending state champion Word of God Christian Academy. And, while cognizant of the quality of football team that is heading their way, the Warriors are more ready than in recent years to meet the challenge.

“We have been telling the guys since day one that Word of God is just another football team,” Drake said. “We’re going to play hard, give it our best shot and not let the scoreboard dictate how we play.

“We’ve focused on the battles that happen each play,” he added. “I tell them to worry about winning that one battle and when you win those individual battles, that’s how you win the war.”

Drake said his team had been working hard during the off-season and was ready to take the field. They prepared with two scrimmages – a tie with Creswell and a win over Mattamuskeet – as they get ready for the season opener.

“We have 25 kids out on the varsity and that is a good number for us,” Drake said. “We have a good group of seniors and some big, strong kids. Hopefully this will be the magic year for us.”

The Warriors improved during last season, Drake’s first at the helm, but hope to really turn the corner in the 2012 campaign.

Leading the way will be quarterback Jesse White, a member of last year’s All-Roanoke-Chowan Team. He will count on Zach Eubanks to help keep him safe as the 6’-2”, 315-pounder returns to play on the offensive and defensive line.

Another key returner is tight end/defensive end Logan Mizelle.

The Warriors will also benefit from two newcomers who are on the football field at Lawrence for the first time, even though they are returning students.

Ryan Lilley – a standout baseball player at the school – will play football for the first time and Drake said he has been an excellent addition to the roster. Also key among newcomers will be fullback and defensive end Cody Ambrose.

Drake said he is pleased with the way his team has prepared for the upcoming season and the way they are approaching Friday’s home opener.

“I don’t see the intimidation that we have had in the past,” he said. “Still, my first concern is that we have to make plays from the opening kickoff. Sometimes we have had a habit of waiting to see what will happen and by the time we settle in, we’ve been too far behind.

“We need to go out and attack from the opening kickoff,” he added. “We need to make things happen instead of waiting for something to happen.”

Drake said the season will be a good one for the Warriors if they do two things – stay healthy and improve every week.

The beginning of that season comes Friday night when the Warriors host the Holy Rams in the opener for both clubs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.