Heading into its third year of varsity competition, the Lake Ridge football team has shown steady improvement in a very tough district.
The Eagles finished 2-8 last season and won their first district contest in school history after finishing 0-10 in the 2012 campaign, and coach Kirk Thor said that things are shaping up well for the upcoming season.
Lake Ridge opens the season Aug. 29 at Cleburn.
“It's our third year in the program, so our kids are a little bit older,” Thor said. “We had a lot of young kids play for us last year, and a lot of them are returning. We also have a lot of seniors playing this year, and I think we are ready to make the next step in the program.”
The Eagles finished last season with a record of 2-8 and went 1-6 in district competition, and Thor said that the objectives for 2014 are basically for his team to play to its potential.
“We work one day at a time, and we want our kids to do everything they can to be their best academically and on the field,” Thor said. “Then the games and the wins and losses will take care of themselves. We want to take the next step as a program, and I think we'll do that. Our first year, we lost a lot of games badly. Last year, we competed in most of our games and were a lot closer, and I think that this year, we need to learn how to win a lot of those close games.”
Key returners for Lake Ridge include quarterback Jeff Duffy (2,100 yards, 22 TD), and running back Duke Carter (1,150 yards, 13 TD) among others, and Lake Ridge has a total of 16 returning starters.
Thor said he anticipates a number of teams in district this season to be difficult opponents.
“I think there are going to be a lot of good teams in our district,” Thor said. “If you look at our district from top to bottom, it is a really tough 5A district. You've got to look at Timberview coming down, and they are going to be really good. Lancaster is going to be good, with some young, tough kids, and then Summit and Legacy are always going to give you a good game. Week by week, there is really no week off.”
In order to have a successful season and make the postseason, Thor said it will take the right attitude.
“I really think that if our kids can just focus on taking one day at a time, we'll be fine,” Thor said. “We're a fast break football team. We like to blitz on defense; we like to snap the ball fast on offense. And I think with more experience, we'll be even better.
“It may sound ironic, but if we don't think about making the playoffs, which is too far, but can focus on having the best practice possible on Monday, and then again on Tuesday, I think we will progress as a football team to the best of our ability. I think if we can do that, we will be happy with the scoreboard when the night's over.”