“9-2 ain’t good enough” was repeated several times during my visit to the Lakeland Dreadnaught’s practice at Bryant Stadium. The youthful Naughts finished their 2013 season 9-2, losing to neighborhood rival Kathleen and an early playoff exit concluding the season. Just not good enough for a program that expects to compete for a state championship each year.
So where does it start? The obvious pick: The QB! That would be correct. Aaron Johnson returns for his second year as the Captain of the ship for the offensive unit at Lakeland. More seasoned, more experienced and more confident. Likely an ATH prospect for major D1 schools, but for this Dreadnaught team he will be counted on to run the offense and make plays with his arm and legs. Ra’Don Dwight will share the load in the backfield with rising sophomore AJ Davis. A lethal combo of inside brute and outside speed. The WR unit is talented, young and athletic. Garrett Conner is the elder of the group helping to mature the youngsters James Robinson and G’Karl West. These dudes look dangerous and any secondary will have their hands full trying to cover them.
The defense will need some retooling. Young and somewhat inexperienced, the front will be anchored by “Big” #79, AJ Deshommes 6-3/300 DT who showed spurts of domination. Two LBs departed to other schools, so Kelvin Broome is the man in the middle to bring the attitude and experience to a defense wanting to improve their image. Leroy Deshazor comes over from Lakeland Christian and should make an instant impact to the Orange/Black secondary that wants to produce more turnovers than the previous season.
Lakeland has a scary, talented crop of 2016 and 2017 prospects. Once the dust settles and the season is in full swing, we expect the youthful Dreadnaughts to flex their muscles once again.