The Lamar Consolidated football team surprised people in 2018 with a lot of young players stepping up and making plays to get seven wins and a playoff berth.
Now, head coach Rick LaFavers hopes that season and a productive spring practice can build more momentum for the Mustangs heading into the 2019 season.
Due to the renovations of the track and field at Traylor Stadium, Lamar didn’t have a spring game in the normal sense. But the Mustangs were able to finish up spring practice on Thursday at the stadium.
The practice showed a lot that we already know about Lamar: the offense is loaded with playmakers and the defense is still strong despite missing a few key players from last season.
LaFavers was pleased that while his upperclassmen looked good, the younger players made good strides in practice.
“Varsity-wise, we’re a veteran team, but we knew what we were heading into there,” he said. “I was pleased to see the young guys step up and we saw what the incoming sophomores and rising juniors had. And the good thing is that we came out of (the spring) healthy.”
Running back Taye McWilliams showed he’s going to be a key part of the Mustang offense with a 52-yard touchdown run in the practice, breaking three or four tackles before breaking loose for the long run.
But another running back, Rayshawn Glover, also looked strong in practice for Lamar.
“It was nice to see Rayshawn do it against the varsity,” LaFavers said. “He dominated in the freshman season and he showed his skills and has a bright future ahead and making plays for us.”
Also back on offense are quarterback B.J. Harris and a corps of wide receivers, including Preston Wilson, Stanley Tucker and La’trell Davis.
With 16 returning starters on both sides of the ball for 2019, the Mustangs look like a team that is more looking for depth in the spring than looking to fill a lot of holes on its squad.
Most of the holes are on defense, as Lamar loses defensive lineman Ivan Kuykendall and linebacker Roman Punch to graduation. But A.J. Harris and Michael Cobbin haveeach has stepped up and others on the defensive line have also improved, LaFavers said.
“The secondary is young, but they have shown some bright spots,” he added. “I’m very encouraged about their future.”
LaFavers hopes that his players can stay focused and hungry during the summertime so that they can hit the ground running in fall camp and be ready for the 2019 season.