High School Sports

New school, new coaches, new players. Legion Collegiate is up for a challenge

Editor’s note: Today The Herald begins its preseason look at area high school football teams. Each day through Aug. 22 a team from an area high school will be highlighted. Today we lead off with Legion Collegiate Academy, which starts it’s first-ever season.

The Legion Collegiate Academy Lancers are preparing for their inaugural football season led by veteran head coach Strait Herron.

The Lancers have 56 players on the roster. Being a charter school, they have attracted players from around the region. So there is a mix of players from area schools, and a distribution of sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

The senior class is the smallest group. The sophomore class is the largest.

“I like the mix of players we got from the area as well as the numbers in each of the classes,” said Herron, who also is the school’s athletic director. “This is an excellent beginning for us.

“I am pleased with the attitude the players have shown thus far. The work ethic has been incredible. We worked hard in the summer, and I really like the way we have worked in our practice sessions thus far.”

Herron has set goals for this year’s team and for the program’s future.

“I want to create a first class program that will attract quality athletes,” Herron said. “We aspire to play on the national level in the future.”

Herron said he has the makings of a good team this fall. He said there are some excellent athletes, some experienced players, good size, and some speed.

The coach stopped short of naming specific players this early in the team’s development, but he did talk about the challenge they face.

“I love a challenge,” he said. “I embrace this challenge. When we started the players and coaches did not know each other. We have come a long way in a short amount of time.”

On offense, Herron said he is excited about the play of the offensive line. He said that group has the most experience. He said he has quite a few candidates at each position in the backfield. He is waiting for some leaders to emerge. The Lancers have a good crop of receivers, which include a few tall players, the coach said.

“I think that we will be in good shape on offense,” Herron said. “The progress we have made on that side of the ball has been impressive.”

The Lancers also have strong potential along the defensive line. Herron said he is very pleased with the play of the defensive ends. The linebackers are young, but the veteran coach said that gives them room to grow. The secondary has some talent, but Herron said he is concerned about the depth.

“We will do well on defense,” Herron said. “We have already shown quite a bit of improvement on that side of the ball.”

Legion Collegiate will play a nine-game schedule.

“The schedule will be a challenge for us,” Herron said. “It will be challenging because the teams we play are very good and experienced, and we do not know anything about them.”

Herron, a very successful former head coach at South Pointe, has assembled an impressive coaching staff. Included in the group are former Northwestern head coach Jimmy Wallace, former South Pointe and York head coach Bobby Carroll, and former Northwestern assistant coach Bobby Page.

“This entire coaching staff has brought us along very quickly,” Herron said. “They have excellent attention to detail, and once the season starts their experience in breaking down game film and making plans for an opponent will be very valuable.”

Herron said he has clear expectations for this year’s team.

“I expect us to improve every day we come to practice,” he said. “I expect us to get better every time we play a game. I expect us to play hard in every game and play as a team.”

Coming Saturday: Lewisville.