Lancaster Christian started slowly in 2012 with the introduction of a new head coach.
The Knights, though, ended on a five-game win streak including a win in the NACA championship game. One year later, LCA kicks off the season with its third different head coach in as many years.
Former Austin Peay defensive lineman Rocky Peeler begins his first season at Lancaster Christian after replacing Chad Watson, who left the school to be an assistant coach at Clarksville Academy.
LCA went 5-7 last year, but won the NACA title.
So far, roster size has been an issue. There are only 24 players on the roster, and just seven of those players were on the 2012 roster. But Peeler said he expects to add to it with the start of school.
Former MTSU quarterbacks coach Alex Robins, who was most recently at Blackman High in the same position, is the LCA offensive coordinator. He brought in a spread offense for former Blackman quarterback Matt Williams to run.
Williams, who threw for 354 yards at Blackman in 2012, has a lively arm. However, he’ll be challenged with an offensive line that is thin on depth. Blackman transfer Jared Beard, Pearl-Cohn transfer A.J. Morris and senior Hayden McKee will lead the Knights’ receiving corps.
“(Williams is) doing really well,” Peeler said. “He loves the offense. It fits his ability. Matt is making all of the right reads.”
Beard caught three passes for 40 yards at Blackman. Morris, a sophomore, has showed out at camps. He already has college offers from Tennessee and UCLA. McKee caught 22 passes for 394 yards with five touchdowns at LCA last season. Dwyon Boyd, an Oakland transfer, also will play some at receiver. He recently came back from a shoulder injury.
Tevin Driver and Rion Robinson will both carry the ball for the Knights. Driver had 39 carries for 253 yards last season as a speed back.
Linemen Jacob Sharp, Zach Edmonson and Adam Ross anchor the offensive line. However, all three will be expected to also start on the defensive line.
“As coaches, we’ve been trying to be creative in trying to get them breaks,” Peeler said. “We have guys like Hunter Ritter sub in and Sam Michaels.
“We rotate creatively to let them stay fresh.”
Peeler runs the defense and has installed a 4-2-5 defense, which is similar to what he ran when he was at Austin Peay.
Robinson is the Knight’s middle linebacker, and is considered the primary anchor on defense in charge of plugging gaps. He’s only 5-feet-10, 215 pounds, but loves to hit.
“He’s made big strides in understanding reads from spring to now.”
Boyd also will make a difference on defense. He’ll be an outside linebacker and safety.
Beard and McKee, who had six interceptions a year ago, will help lead the Knights’ secondary.
Gavin Clark is the Knights’ kicker and punter.