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Trojans make history with semifinal run

With a thrilling 35 28 win over the Lovett Lions along the banks of the Chattahoochee River last week, the Lamar County Trojans became the first ever LCCHS team to advance to the semifinals of the GHSA state football playoffs. Everything at Lovett ‘“ the field, the facilities, the parking deck and the officiating ‘“ was the best money could buy. Lamar was penalized 10 times while the Lions drew nary a flag. High school kids don’t play a football game without a single error. But the Trojans overcame and won on the road. This Friday, they face an even tougher test on the road against undefeated Calhoun. The Yellow Jackets are on a 28-game winning streak. They last lost on December 10, 2010 when Buford edged them out 31-24 in the state title game. Calhoun was 14-0 going into that contest so, over the past three years, they are 42-1. Calhoun does not play in the toughest region, their 7AA foes finished the season a combined 22-51. Lamar’s region foes, in contrast, finished 30-43. But the Jackets have been tested. Early in the season, they played three AAAA schools and put up points in bunches on all three. The Jackets are coached by Hal Lamb. His nephew, Taylor Lamb, quarterbacks the team and is the Gatorade all-classification player of the year in Georgia. The Jacket QB, who is committed to South Alabama, has thrown the ball 359 times and completed 247 for 3,167 yards and 34 touchdowns. He can also hurt you with his legs as he has run for 302 yards on 56 carries for another two touchdowns. These stats beg the question of why larger schools are not looking at the kid. Suffice to say, this is a quality program stacked with athletes aplenty on the roster. So, how do the Trojans win? First, they must run the ball effectively, knock out first downs and eat up the clock. The Lamb kid can’t hurt them if he is on the bench. Second, Lamar must avoid mistakes. Penalties and turnovers in a game like this will spell doom. Third, the Trojan defensive backs must have the games of their lives. Thankfully, this is a strength for Lamar which has three junior defensive backs who are legitimate major college prospects. They need some picks ‘“ particularly early in the contest. Fourth, the Trojans must pressure Lamb. If he gets time to set up and run through his progressions before releasing the ball, it will be a long ride back from northwest Georgia on the team bus. Lamar does have advantages. The first is team speed. No team has yet matched the total team speed the Trojans possess. We can run with their receivers and turn the corner on their defense. Perhaps the biggest edge the Trojans have is head coach Franklin Stephens. All my life I have heard about the Lamb football family and have nothing but respect for them but, in my 34 years along the sidelines, Stephens is the best motivator and in-game adjustment coach I have seen. Lamar faces a huge challenge but it is not an insurmountable one. You can help by hitting the road and turning out to support the best football team in this community’s history as they represent us all. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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