Sixteen of Lewisville’s 32 players are seniors and a handful of those are high-level college prospects. Thus, expectations are not low in Richburg this fall for a team that got its first taste of a deep postseason playoff run under coach Will Mitchell last year.
Look at Clemson-bound defensive tackle Josh Belk as a kind of metaphor for Lewisville football; the potential has been there for several years - Belk had offers from the likes of Florida State and LSU as a ninth grader - but the production on the field only began to show up last year. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound-senior needs to stay healthy for a full season to help Lewisville reach its potential.
Take a virtual tour of the stadiums where the Lewisville Lions will play their 2017 football season:
Never miss a local story.
Other big play-makers include Mikial Fourney and Quentin Sanders, who has FBS scholarship offers and takes the reigns from Mike Hill as the team’s most dangerous offensive weapon. Besides Hill, QB Trey Keels is also gone and it appears that Rhett Cox will get the chance to nail down that position so that Sanders can remain out in the field and not at wildcat QB.
Coach: Will Mitchell, 6th year (28-29)
Assistant coaches: Billy Keels, wide receivers and assistant head coach; Kirk Cannon, wide receivers; Rusty Pemberton, offensive line; Rob Scott, H-back and tight ends; Matthew Owings, offensive coordinator and running backs; Blake Barron, quarterbacks; Wally Weir, linebackers and defensive coordinator; Kevin Eaddy, defensive backs; Stacy Rubin, outside linebackers; Larry Reynolds, defensive line.
Last season: 10-3, lost in the third round of the 1A playoffs
Last 5 years: 29-27, 5 playoff appearances
Playoff wins last 5 years: 2
Returning starters: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense)
Key number: 35 - Lions seniors Mikial Fourney and Rhett Cox have started all 35 games of their high school careers so far.
Key returning players: Sr. ATH Quentin Sanders, Sr. DT Josh Belk, Sr. LB/OL Jaylen McFadden, Sr. DB/WR Mikial Fourney, Sr. WR Johnny Courtney, Sr. ATH Rhett Cox, Sr. OL/DL Qay Simpson, Sr. DB Chase Yoder, Jr. OL Wesley Williamson, Sr. OL D.J. McCullough, Sr. OL Dorian Kirkpatrick, Soph. WR Demetric Hardin.
Weakness: Trying to replace defensive ends Jene Thompson and Darryl Manning will be difficult. They graduated, taking 30 combined sacks with them, as well as plenty of blocking attention that pulled at least a few bodies away from Belk in the middle of the d-line, and also provided edge containment to funnel opposing ball-carriers toward the interior, and Belk’s waiting arms.
Strength: Lewisville’s offensive line returns four starters and should be solid.
Coachspeak: “That’s how we start region off, we go McBee and Lamar back to back. It’s been three years since we’ve beat either one of them. Until we beat them on the field, and that goes for both of them, they’re still 1 and 2.”
August: 18 Andrew Jackson; 25 at Blacksburg
September: 1 at Buford; 8 Whitmire; 15 Eau Claire; 22 at C.A. Johnson; 29 McBee
October: 6 at Lamar; 13 Bye; 20 at Timmonsville; 27 Great Falls
- Lewisville’s opponents won 45 percent of their games in 2016 (50-62) and include six playoff teams.