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Lennard: 2014 football preview

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Thu. August 14, 2014 | Brandon Wright

Lennard: 2014 football preview

Lennard

Coach: Keith Chattin (third season, 1-19)

Last season: 1-9

Class/district: 6A-8

Colors: Burnt orange and white 

Stadium: Unnamed, 2002 E. Shell Point Road, Ruskin

Playoff history: None

Season schedule

Aug. 29 at East Bay, 7:30

Sept. 5 at King, 7:30 

Sept. 12 vs. Chamberlain, 7:30

Sept. 19 at Blake, 7:30 

Sept. 26 vs. Hillsborough, 7:30 

Oct. 2 at Robinson, 7 

Oct. 10 vs. Jefferson, 7:30 

Oct. 17 at Armwood, 7:30 

Oct. 24 vs. Leto, 7:30 

Oct. 31 vs. Spoto, 7:30 

Mark your calendar 

St. Petersburg Catholic at Lennard, Aug. 22: The first two years have been rough for coach Keith Chattin, so this is easy: the preseason game. “The first game of the season is our main focus,” he said. “We don’t get caught up in who we play; we just want to start the season off in a positive manner and play well and be extremely physical.”

Huddle highlights

Who will play quarterback? Chattin has a couple options in Diontae Johnson and Devin Black. Johnson took the bulk of the snaps last season but Black, a freshman, “has looked outstanding.” Chattin said he will make a decision Monday.

Instilling confidence: Chattin’s biggest challenge will be getting the Longhorns to believe they can win. Lennard, coming off a 1-9 season, is 1-19 during Chattin’s two years and 3-27 dating to 2011. After a few dry seasons, Chattin believes he has the personnel in place this year. “We’ve got some players this year,” he said. “Honestly, that’s the biggest difference.”

Offseason of positives: Lennard beat East Bay 20-6 in its spring game and had a good summer in 7-on-7. Combine that with a ramped-up offseason conditioning program and Chattin said he thinks a .500 season is well within reach. “I think we can win six, seven, eight games this year and if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t say it in the paper,” he said. “We want to win every game but I’m also realistic about our goals. But I think we can get to those numbers for sure.”

Known quantities

QB/WR/CB Diontae Johnson, Sr.: Johnson is the Longhorns playmaker but it remains to be seen where he lines up. If he’s not under center Johnson, who Chattin calls “one of the best athletes in the County”, will split time between receiver and corner.

CB/WR Corey Hicks, Sr.: A shutdown corner, Hicks will line up against the oppositions’ best. “There was a stretch last year against Hillsborough, Robinson, Jefferson and Armwood where we put him on their No. 1 receiver and they caught zero balls.”

OT/DT Rowdy Driggers, Jr.: At 6-foot-2, 320 pounds, Driggers is the anchor along both lines for the Longhorns.

RB/LB Jahryn Bailey, So.: Bailey has a nonstop motor and Chattin said “he’s the best tenth-grader I have ever had.”

LB/SS Brian Nelson, Sr.: Nelson will be in charge of lining up the defense and counted on again to fill gaps. The 6-foot, 160-pounder led Lennard with 85 tackles last year.

Up-and-comers

LB/TE Josh Anderson, Jr.: Anderson didn’t play football his first two years at Lennard but Chattin is hoping he can make a big impact. At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, Anderson is a physical presence and Chattin thinks “he can be one of the best linebackers in the county.”

RB Josh Shelman, Sr.: Shelman transferred in from Palmetto during the second semester last year and is expected to play a big role for out of the backfield.

QB Devin Black, Fr.: Black is likely the most intriguing name on this list. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder carries himself with maturity and could free up Johnson to make plays out wide if he wins the starting job.

OG/DT Kadeem Roman, Jr.: Roman played sparingly last season but thanks to a solid spring and summer, the 6-foot, 280-pounder has taken over at left guard.

Coach’s corner

“When you get used to winning, you win; and when you get used to losing, that’s the only feeling you know. It just keeps snowballing. You have to get (the team) out of that mindset. I believe we can run off three or four wins to start the year for the first time in school history.” — Chattin

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