Originally created 08/27/99

Lakeside has look of winner



Chris Mitchum remembers last year's turnaround.

Lakeside started out 2-4, then the Panthers pulled together and reeled off a four-game winning streak to end the season.

"Coach (Steve Crislip) told us that if we played together we could win," the senior offensive guarddefensive tackle said. "It gives us a lot of momentum. Now we know what we have to do."

Crislip has only 43 players on his team's roster, but returns nearly everybody on offense, with the exception of running back Tim Paige. Seniors Brian Bratton and Blake Elder will share time at quarterback, while 6-foot-3, 245-pound Brian Johnson will be a force at fullback.

"Bratton carried us last year with his breakaway speed and running," Crislip said. "It's good to have someone who can score on one play."

At running back, Tim Wixson, Nick Edmond and Russell Gambrell will compete for playing time. Tim Martin adds speed and good hands at wide receiver. However, Crislip expects the offensive line to have the biggest impact.

"We look for them to carry us early on," Crislip said. "All of them did a real good job for us last year."

With the lack of depth on this year's team, Crislip will be forced to use some of his main players on offense and defense.

Mitchum and Johnson will anchor the defensive line, while Elder and Jamie O'Neal will play big roles at outside linebacker. Lakeside has the secondary covered with Bratton, Martin, Wixson, Gambrell and Joey Humphries all sharing time.

"Based on our returning players, a region playoff berth is reasonable," Crislip said. "Anything less than that would not be a successful year."

Chris Gay covers Columbia County sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 868-1222 ext. 114 or cag112@hotmail.com