Lyman Ward Military Academy kicks off its eight-man football season tonight with a home game against Freedom School in Huntsville.
The Fighting Rangers begin the season under new head coach Keith Elliott, who looks to turn things around for the team.
“It’s been 26 years since Lyman Ward has had a winning season,” he said. “We want to get over that hump.”
Elliott hopes to make history with a roster of 23 players. Some eight of those are seniors, with all but one returning to the team.
“Michael Logan is our starting halfback,” the coach said. “He came in over Christmas and placed second in track and field.”
Along with Logan, Elliott expects the seniors to lead Lyman Ward down the road to redemption.
“My whole back field is lined up with seniors,” he said. “I try to put as much on the seniors as possible.”
The responsibility of starting quarterback falls on senior Davison Garrett.
“Garrett brings leadership,” Elliott said. “The cadets look up to him.”
The Fighting Rangers will need that leadership in tonight’s matchup with Freedom School, especially since they have only had two weeks to prepare for the game after starting school on Aug. 21.
“We got a late start,” Elliott said. “Aug. 22 was our first day of official practice.”
That could put them at a disadvantage, as Freedom School is coming into the game 3-0 for the season.
“That’s the thing that concerns me the most,” Elliott said. “With this being their fourth game, they’re in better shape. Their legs are a lot fresher all the way through to the fourth quarter.”
Kick-off is at 6 p.m. today at Ranger Field.
Horseshoe Bend at Lanett
Coming off the heels of its season opening victory over Donoho last week, Horseshoe Bend travels to Lanett tonight for its first away game of the season.
According to Generals head football coach Jason Franklin, that win served as a confidence booster as they ready to face the Panthers.
“It adds motivation to the guys,” he said.
Nonetheless, Franklin wants to make sure his team keeps things in perspective.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “We’ll have to refocus them.”
Of course, that refocus centers around tonight’s matchup against Lanett.
“They’re a really good team,” Franklin said. “But we’ve got a game plan for things we can do.”
That includes eliminating some mistakes the Generals made last week.
“We had way too many penalties,” Franklin said. “We had some fumbled snaps and fumbles, period. We also gave up a couple of plays.”
While addressing these issues on the offense, the Generals’ defense is also focusing on containing Lanett’s offense tonight.
“They have a really good quarterback,” Franklin said. “They run a lot of jet sweeps.”
Those sweeps are run by some formidable athletes.
“They’re big, tall guys,” Franklin said. “They’ll spread you out.”
Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
Other games tonight
Also tonight, Benjamin Russell, 0-1 for the season, heads to Pelham to face the Panthers. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at Ned Bearden Stadium.
With a 1-1 record, Dadeville hosts its homecoming game tonight against Munford. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. However, the homecoming king and queen will be crowned in a ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Still in search of their first win of the season, the Reeltown Rebels head to Woodland tonight to match up against the Bobcats. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.
Central Coosa is off this week. The Cougars next head to Prattville Christian on Sept. 9.