• LCMS running back Tariq Shiver absorbs contact during practice Monday (ERIC JACKSON/Lake City Reporter).
    LCMS running back Tariq Shiver absorbs contact during practice Monday (ERIC JACKSON/Lake City Reporter).

YOUTH FOOTBALL: Falcons soar into new season

LCMS football team opens fall practice.

With summer break almost behind them, the Falcons are back on the gridiron for fall practice. Lake City Middle School's football team returns to the field, looking to build on last year's undefeated season. It won't be easy though, especially after graduating some key eighth-graders who anchored the strong 2017 campaign.

"We just got to find some alpha dogs," LCMS head coach Al Nelson said. "We need some people that's going to step up. Last year, I didn't have to worry about that because they were ready to go, but this year I need somebody to step up. I need some alpha dogs to say 'hey this is how it's going to be'."

While the squad has plenty of talent back this year, Nelson says he's eager to see which players will take on leadership roles this season. The Falcons will depend on these new voices as the season gets underway on Sept. 4 versus Suwannee.

"I lost a lot of leadership in guys who went to the high school," he said. "I need those seventh-graders who are now eighth-graders to step up to the plate and be the leaders I need them to be."

LCMS continues to make due following the consolidation of the city's two middle schools a couple years ago. Unlike last year, Nelson says, there's a possibility of zero players being cut this season. While the team still may cut a player or two, LCMS is pleased to enter the season with likely every player who signed up.

But each player surely will be tested. The Falcons are basking in the heat this week as they fine-tune plays and formations ahead of the season.

"Right now, this week and next week, we're working on getting ourselves together," Nelson said. "Discipling ourselves (along with) timing and execution. The following week we'll start getting prepared for our first home game."

Since the merging of schools, LCMS continues to compete as an independent school, filling out its schedule as they can without any conference affiliation. Despite the struggles that come with being an independent, the team has locked up five games already and hopes to add maybe one or two more games. In the meantime, the Falcons are back at work, ironing out the wrinkles over the next few weeks.

"For these next two weeks, it's all about us. Just getting down timing and execution which will show us mental toughness," Nelson said. "How to preserve through tough times. And then we'll start to prepare for Suwannee."

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