‘We’re growing as a program’ – Season is over for Lakeside, but the program is just getting started

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A magical season for Lakeside has come to an end following a 35-6 loss to General Trass in the first round of the state playoffs on Friday night in Lake Providence.

“The field conditions were the worst I’ve ever been a part of,” Lakeside head coach Jason McClendon said. “It affected both teams. We were playing in the Mud Bowl.”

The Warriors high-flying offense was stymied by the wet, muddy conditions, but McClendon said the game came down to the Warriors’ inability to finish drives.

“We had the ball in the red zone a few times and didn’t finish,” McClendon said. “We were driving fine, but didn’t finish. It was bad execution on our part.”

Zachaeus Sumlin scored a 75-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 15-6 late in the third quarter, but that was all the scoring that Lakeside could muster.

The Warriors trailed by only seven points at halftime, but even then, McClendon felt his team should have been up.

“They had a fumbled snap on their first possession that gave us the ball at their six-yard line,” McClendon said. “We didn’t get any points out of that situation. Three plays that went nowhere and then a field goal that bounced off the goal post. It was one of those nights.”

The story of the game was the conditions on the field. McClendon admits that both teams had to deal with the mud, but it certainly made it difficult on the Warriors.

“When the game was over, I didn’t see any grass on the field. It was all mud. Our kids were caked in it,” McClendon said. “They fumbled the ball a lot, but they were still able to break a few big plays.”

One particular play came in the fourth quarter with the game still in the balance.

“It was a third down play they threw over the top,” McClendon said. “It tipped off of our safety’s hand and into their receiver in stride.”

Despite the loss, this season was a record-setting accomplishment for Lakeside football.

“It’s not the way you want to end the season,” McClendon said. “I hate it for the seniors, that’s not how you want to go out. But that’s life, you don’t get everything you want.

“We’ve come a long way in two years. For our seniors, it didn’t end the right way, but they laid the foundation to make Lakeside football relevant again. They were real leaders this season.”

Lakeside has now made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The Warriors have only made the playoffs six times in school history.

“Those guys rowed the boat for this program and laid a foundation for the future,” McClendon said. “We’re not where we wanted to be but, we’re growing as a program.”

Running back Jacquez Lott finished the regular season as one of the top five best runners in the state according to rushing yards.

Travion Sanders set school records for receiving and touchdown catches.

Quarterback Jordan Preuett ended the season as one of the top throwers in class 2A.

“Our coaching staff wanted to say thank you to all the kids who set the tone for the younger classes,” McClendon said. “Those kids who are coming up into our program from middle school now have something they can look up to. That’s because of the work our seniors put in these last two years.”

Though the season ended poorly for the Warriors, there is no doubt that McClendon and his team have turned things around at Lakeside.

“Lakeside football was a joke. Now there is a pulse in this program,” McClendon said. “People have to respect us a little bit.”

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