The Lewisville Lions are hoping that this football season will erase the bitter taste left in their mouths after starting the 2013 campaign victors in five of their first seven contests, only to drop their last four games in a row to finish at 5-6. Lewisville head coach Will Mitchell, in his third year leading the Lions, pointed to the injury of starting quarterback Cody Montgomery as the foremost reason for the dismal finish to a season that was progressing so favorably.
“We had some injuries,” said Mitchell, “but Cody’s injury was the one that tipped the scales. His injury took the wind out of us. Other injuries and a lot of other little things snowballed into bigger things to where we weren’t able to recover.”
One look at Montgomery’s 2013 offensive numbers and it is obvious to see what his loss meant to the team. The then-junior signal caller completed 133 of his 197 passing attempts for 1,397 yards and eight touchdowns before he separated his shoulder in game seven against McBee. Montgomery attempted to return against C.A. Johnson a couple of weeks later but re-injured his shoulder.
This season the Lion senior hopes to bounce back and lead his team to the playoffs.
“I’m excited (about this season) especially since I got injured last year,” Montgomery said. “I want to be a leader this season, and we as a team want to improve from last year to try to win the region and hopefully the state championship.”
He added that he has been going through a strong regimen of off-season physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in his shoulder. Montgomery has also been selected as one of WSOC-Channel 9 TV’s “Big 22” high school football players for the upcoming 2014 season.
Lewisville will be competing in Region 3-A, which also includes perennial power Lamar, C.A. Johnson, McBee, and county rival Great Falls.
“Lamar will be the team to beat and Great Falls has a lot of good players back,” Mitchell said. “Our regular season will be as tough as it’s ever been.
The Lions open with Chester and play Lancaster for the first time in school history.
“That should be a heck of a game, especially for the fans,” Mitchell said.
Lewisville will field a young team with just seven returning starters. Mitchell emphasized that more than half of the 45-50 players on his roster are freshmen and sophomores. He added that his squad has been lifting weights extensively sincespring and is stronger than ever.
One position that will be up for grabs is quarterback. Sophomore Trey Keels and Montgomery are in an ongoing battle for the starting nod. Mitchell was quick to point out that they could be splitting time but one would start. He is confident knowing that “we can use Cody anywhere.”
On the defensive side the Lions are counting on another outstanding performance from senior Marquis Hart. In being named to The Herald’s All-Area second team in 2013, Hart’s numbers included 92 tackles, 23 for a loss.
“We kinda scrambled last year,” Hart said. “We didn’t play as a unit but this year’s team is closer together. I have been spending a lot of time with my teammates. We are in a tough region, but I’m going to give 100 percent and be more focused than in the past.”
The defense is also expecting contributions from senior nose tackle Tyrone McCullough.
Prior to the Aug. 22 opening game against the neighboring Chester Cyclones, Mitchell’s troops have been busy. The Lions were involved in a football camp this past weekend that included a scrimmage at Mid-Carolina on Friday morning followed by a Youth Mini-Camp later that night. On Aug. 12 the Lions will scrimmage Andrew Jackson at home before concluding preseason activities by taking part in the Chester County Jamboree on Aug. 15. The opponent in the Jamboree will be the Garinger (Charlotte) Wildcats.