This fall will be coach Bobby Collins’ first at Lancaster without a proven running back. The Bruins rode the sturdy builds of Ant Foster and Farrika Grier the last three seasons but a new face - or faces - will have to take over in that department, starting with senior Ji’quan Stover. There will be a new QB starter too, with Kemarkio Cloud, resembling a linebacker, will take the reins. A huge offensive line returning four of five starters will help both the new running backs and quarterback.
Similar to Collins’ last few teams in Lancaster, this bunch of Bruins are stout on the defensive line with sophomore Immanuale Bush a break-out candidate. Markees Watts is one of the most productive defensive players in the area and he’ll get to rush the QB from a standing position after moving to linebacker.
Check out the stadiums on Lancaster’s 2017 football schedule with this virtual tour:
Lancaster could really do with a pair of home wins to open Region 3-4A play; the Bruins might have the toughest regular season finish in The Herald’s coverage area, with road games at South Pointe, York and Ridge View.
Coach: Bobby Collins, 4th year (46-33)
Assistant coaches: Rod Robinson, offensive coordinator; Ricky Brown, defensive line; Kenneth Schofield, running backs; Charles McEachin, defensive backs; Marcus Surratt, wide receivers; Joe Watson, offensive line; Bill Geiler, defensive coordinator and linebackers; Seth Cobb, offensive line; Robert Belk, defensive line; Carl Boyd, linebackers; Jeff Jarosz, defensive backs; Chris Miller, defensive backs.
Last season: 5-6, lost in the first round of the 4A playoffs
Last 5 years: 26-30, 3 playoff appearances
Playoff wins last 5 years: 1
Returning starters: 12 (5 offense, 7 defense)
Key number: 42 - Lancaster’s Markees Watts has 42 tackles-for-loss and 27 sacks combined the last two seasons for the Bruins. Watts will play linebacker in college and his speed and mobility should make the transition painless.
Key returning players: Jr. OL Fred Reid, Sr. OL Kevius Barnes, Sr. OLB Markees Watts, Soph. DL Immanuale Bush, Sr. DL Rodrick Johnson, DL Blake Payne, Sr. C Jaren Watts, Jr. LB Meliko Roseborough Sr. RB Ji’quan Stover, Sr. WR Desmond Stowers, Jr. OL Jalen Tatah, Fr. RB Nygel Moore, Jr. WR Zack Truesdale, Sr. LB Tyreek Salley.
Weakness: Lancaster is replacing three seniors in its secondary, making this group a weakness until proven otherwise. The Bruins’ defensive backs will especially be tested by region rivals Ridge View, South Pointe and York, making their improvement an immediate concern for Bruins coaches.
Strength: No question that the Bruins’ offensive line should be one of the best in the area. Collins, a former offensive lineman at S.C. State, says he has at least three future college players in his front five, and every one of them are big. Jalen Tatah and Kevius Barnes are coveted prospects and should give Lancaster a significant push at the line of scrimmage.
Coachspeak: “We’ve got Ji’quan Stover, our starting running back, played wide receiver so he’ll be a little different in the backfield. I think we’ll be a balanced team, around 50-50. But if a team allows us to run the football, we’re gonna do it until they stop us.”
August: 18 Indian Land; 25 Bye
September: 1 at Fort Mill; 8 Chester; 15 Nation Ford; 22 at Lugoff-Elgin; 29 Westwood
October: 6 Richland Northeast; 13 at South Pointe; 20 at York; 27 at Ridge View
- Lancaster’s opponents won 55 percent of their games in 2016 (63-52) and include seven playoff teams and one state champion (South Pointe).