New Leader of the RangersPublished 5:26pm Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It didn’t take Lyman Ward Military Academy long to find a replacement for former head football coach Sheldon Ward, as the schools basketball and soccer coach Dwayne Thomas will also take over on the gridiron starting in 2011.
“I’ve been coaching football on the recreation and junior varsity level for the past few years and I’m happy to be able to lead Lyman Ward in 2011,” Thomas said. “We’re working hard to get stronger and better.”
Thomas, who came to the Camp Hill school two years ago, takes over a program that hasn’t had the success that it once had, as the Rangers have won 20 games over the last 11 years. However, don’t look to Thomas to make excuses for his 2011 squad.
“As long as we focus on getting kids in the program and help them develop and stick around, we can get this thing going in the right direction,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a great coaching staff in place to lead our young men.”
The Rangers staff has increased to five coaches including assistant coaches that have experience at the college level with Jacksonville State and even at the professional level with Arena League football.
Things will change on the offensive side for the Rangers in 2011, as they will look to runningback Dwayne Pritchett to carry much of the load both inside and outside.
“Dwayne looks good this summer and has been working out hard,” Thomas said. “He’s getting looks from some great schools at the next level and I think with my experience with exercise science, I can help him get leaner and stay fit.”
Perhaps the biggest change on the field for LWMA will be on the defensive side, as the Rangers will alternate between 4-3 and 3-4 looks in order to keep opposing offenses off-balance.
“Over the past few years, teams we were playing always knew what we were running,” Thomas said. “With some of the coaching experience that we have on the defensive side of the ball, we feel that we can run some different schemes and hopefully keep some of these offenses on their heels.”
With changes coming on both the offensive and defensive sides, Thomas hopes that his team stays focused on the mission of bringing back some pride to Lyman Ward football in 2011.
“Our theme for this year is ‘Sudden Impact’ and we’re going to do our best to go out there and get it done,” Thomas said.
“We want to focus on retaining as much of our roster as we can and ensuring that our players believe in one another and the program as a whole.”
Lyman Ward kicks off the 2011 season August 27 vs. Pike Liberals Arts at LWMA.