Lewisville returns plenty of players with game-time experience, but the Lions still don’t have a ton of familiarity with winning. They’ve only won five games total the last two seasons but coach Will Mitchell feels like that will turn this season.
Physically and athletically we’re there, experience-wise. We’ve just got to be able to execute. We’ve got to do some growing as a team and some maturing, especially on the individual level.
Lewisville coach Will Mitchell only lost five seniors that contributed to last year’s Lions squad.
Lewisville returns three-year starter Trey Keels at quarterback, with 1A All-State athlete Mike Hill, A.J. Robinson and potential slot standout Johnny Courtney providing capable play-making hands at receiver. Running back is a bit of a question mark but Quentin Sanders, senior Alex Reed and a couple of others - including Hill - will get a chance to contribute there.
Keels and the backs will be protected by a solid group of o-linemen, led by senior DeAllen Boulware and junior D.J. McCullough. Sophomore Wesley Williamson will be the team’s lone sophomore to dress this season, at least initially, and will be joined up front by junior Quay Simpson and senior Chase Millwood, two players that return to the football team after yearlong absences.
Mitchell boasts arguably one of the best linebacker groups in 1A. Seniors Jene Thompson, Darryl Manning and Keilan Renegar are all college prospects at different levels, with Thompson receiving plenty of FCS interest. All-State pick Renegar led The Herald’s coverage area in forced fumbles last season and is a heat-seeker.
In front of those guys, national prospect Josh Belk sits in the middle of the defensive line, while juniors Mikhail Fourney, Rhett Cox and Chase Yoder line up behind them in the secondary.
A big key for Lewisville is avoiding the injury issues that have hampered late-season success the last few years. An easier non-region schedule should help achieve that goal, with 3A schools Lancaster and Chester dumped from the 2016 slate.
I just think it became a war of attrition for us. We got beat up, dinged up and the wrong guys get dinged. A lot of our offseason program has been an emphasis on injury prevention.
Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense
Key returning players: Sr. QB Trey Keels, Sr. QB; Sr. LB Jene Thompson; Jr. DL Josh Belk; Sr. ATH Mike Hill; Sr. LB Keilan Renegar; Sr. WR A.J. Robinson; Sr. OL DeAllen Boulware; Jr. LB/OL Jaylen McFadden; Soph. WR Johnny Courtney; Jr. DB Mikhail Fourney.
Coach Will Mitchell (5th year)
Career record 18-26
Assistant coaching staff Rusty Pemberton, offensive line; Billy Keels, wide receivers; Rob Scott, running backs; Mike McCray, defensive backs; Larry Reynolds, offensive line; Stan Griffin, linebackers; Travion White, outside linebackers.
Last season 3-8, lost to Christ Church 35-13 in first round of 1A Division II playoffs
Last 10 years combined 47-62 (43 percent)
School state championships 4 (1986, 1987, 1996, 1998)
August 19 at Andrew Jackson; 26 Blacksburg
September 2 Buford*; 9 at Whitmire*; 16 at Eau Claire; 23 C.A. Johnson; 30 at McBee*
October 7 Lamar*; 14 Open; 21 Timmonsville*; 28 at Great Falls*
▪ Lewisville’s opponents won 43 percent of their games last season; star denotes 2015 playoff team; cursive denotes Region 2-A opponent.
Numbers to know
15 years since the Lions’ last double-digit win season.
22 combined wins last season for Lamar and McBee; the rest of Lewisville’s schedule (eight teams) won 26 total games.
18 players that have started at least four games return for Lewisville.
4 defensive tackles ranked nationally ahead of junior Josh Belk in the class of 2018 high school football prospect rankings.
1 sophomore dressing out for Lewisville’s varsity squad this fall. The Lions had around 25 sophomores playing varsity snaps the last two years combined.