A year after making the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA playoffs with a fairly young team, Lakeside is looking for more.
“Last year we were worried to death because because we had a bunch of sophomores that we had to play,” Panthers coach Jarrett Troxler said. “We played a lot of close games and luckily won a couple of them that got us in the state playoffs. We always say stay humble and that’s our big motto, we have it up in our weight room.”
Running Troxler’s up-tempo, high-octane offense will be senior quarterback Hunter Banks, who hurt his knee in the team’s second game of the season against Thomson. He returned and finished with over 1,000 passing yards and five touchdowns.
“I’m expecting a lot of myself,” said Banks. “I think we’re going to come back strong this year.”
It also doesn’t hurt Banks that he has a multi-purpose player to look for in senior Jonathan Edwards, who caught 46 passes for 615 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 437 yards and three more scores.
“We think he’s going to have a great year, he’s already got some I-AA offers,” Troxler said of Edwards. “He’s a very explosive player for us. Last year he had a lot of games where he had 70-yard-plus touchdown runs. We’re excited about him.”
On the outside, one of Banks’ main targets will be junior wideout BJ Raymond, who caught 29 passes for 406 yards and two scores in 2012.
“BJ Raymond is going to be an explosive receiver for us, I’m looking forward to that,” Troxler said.
Defensively, the Panthers will be led by heralded junior free safety Rashad Roundtree, who had 72 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one in 2012. Roundtree was confident that the team – and the the defense specifically – could be something special.
“We didn’t lose a lot of players from defense,” said Roundtree. “We really know each other and we work well on defense. I think we can work together and be pretty strong.”
Troxler hopes the season will be a special one for the team, but he isn’t letting anyone get ahead of themselves.
“If that all equates to wins, I don’t know,” Troxler said. “We take it day-by-day. I sell that to our players and let’s worry about today and then three weeks from now will take care of itself.”