Trojans begin year two of Stephens era

Lamar County made history in 2011 when the Trojans won 12 games for the first time in school history and reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. But when head coach Jason Strickland left to go to Fitzgerald, there was no telling if the Trojans would repeat their success in 2012.


So they hired former Tucker head coach Franklin Stephens to try to keep the good times rolling, and he did just that in leading the Trojans to another 12-win season only to lose to Calhoun in the state semifinals.


One of the reasons why the Trojans came up short against the Yellow Jackets is they could not stop running back Alex Urbano, who rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Calhoun quarterback Taylor Lamb also added 83 yards on the ground, and it’s something that Stephens wants his team to improve on this season as well as offensive production, despite scoring 499 points last season.


“We did not do a good job against the run,” Stephens said talking about the loss to Calhoun. “But we also need to score more points.”


The Trojans will not have a key member of the defense moving forward as All-State linebacker Trey Evans has graduated. Evans had 100 tackles last year.


Ray Lyons will try to fill the void left by Evans. Lyons recorded 69 tackles last season as well as two fumble recoveries. Lyons will be one of the defensive leaders along with defensive backs Quay Searcy and Lawrence Austin. Searcy notched 68 tackles and three interceptions last year while Austin tallied 70 tackles and two interceptions.


On offense, the Trojans have six starters returning including Lance Austin, who is Lawrence’s twin brother. Lance threw for 666 yards and seven touchdowns, and he also rushed for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was no slouch on defense, as he recorded 50 tackles and two interceptions. Lawrence, who rushed for 1,206 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012, will also be a key contributor on offense.


Lance is a three-star recruit, according 247 Sports, and has gotten offers from Georgia State, South Carolina, Marshall, South Alabama and Kent State. Lawrence is also a three-star recruit with offers from Georgia State, South Carolina, Marshall and South Alabama.

Searcy is another Trojan that is getting plenty of looks by different colleges. His offers have come from Louisville, Clemson, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ole Miss.


On special teams, the Trojans could possibly have one of the best kickers in the state in Tyler Scandrett. The senior kicker made eight of his nine field goal attempts, including a 47-yarder in a 24-21 win over Ben

edictine in the second round of the state playoffs.


All the players that are coming back have the ability to lead the Trojans to the Class AA championship, but Stephens knows that his team has a lot of work to do in order to take the next step.

“We have to get bigger and stronger,” Stephens said. “We also have to do the little things correctly.”


The Trojans may have to get bigger and stronger, but Stephens also said being in this system for another season will benefit the team because they know what’s expected of them.


The second year of the Stephens era will begin on Aug. 30 when the Trojans face Spalding. Last year’s opener resulted in a 3-3 tie. Some of the other notable games include Bleckley County (Oct. 25), Macon County (Nov. 1) and Northeast-Macon (Oct. 4).


Even though the Trojans are a marked team because of what they have done the last two years, Stephens knows that his team will have to take it one game at a time.


“We worry about each game as it comes,” Stephens said. “That is something I started when I was at Tucker and, hopefully, we can get better each week.”


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