By Jalon Grant
Keep the good thing going.
The Lincoln Preparatory Panthers football team lives by those words heading into a new season.
Coming off a 7-5 winning season, which ended in the second round of the playoffs to the Haynesville Golden Tornados, Coach Glen Hall knows that the real work starts now to have repeated success and win a state championship.
“My message to my team is that we have to work hard now,” Hall said. “Winning doesn’t come when the season starts; it comes during spring and summer workouts. If we get ahead now when it’s time for the game, it is much easier, and you’ll be bigger, faster, and more prepared. The guys work hard in the mornings and evenings and get after it.”
Hall has instilled in his team the next-man-up mentality with several players looking to take on leadership roles this fall.
“We lost our starting quarterback, Ty’Rell Simmons, who scored 27 touchdowns last year, passing and running, so that’s a big miss for us,” Hall said. “He’ll be replaced by Braylin Mayfield, our backup last year; he’s a big strong arm guy about 6-3 185 pounds who can throw the ball.
“Dmitry Payne was another loss which was a first-team all-state selection in kick returns and led the state in returns with also having around 25 touchdowns for us on offense. Colbie Mack will be his replacement, who can run and catch the ball.”
The big man in the middle, Imani Marcel, the 6-4, 285-pounder, was also a key loss, but Hall said he is confident the train will continue to roll.
“I also lost my big lineman Imani Marcel who controlled the line of scrimmage for me and the next guy up is Lathan Elmore, a three-year starter,” Hall said. “So he’s well prepared for that role to take us to the next level.”
The Panthers haven’t had a home game in three years due to construction, and things are looking to stay the same, but Hall is staying positive in unforeseen circumstances.
“I don’t think we will have a home game this year; the thing is, we thought the stadium that was going to be built would be ready, but it will be pushed back due to material shortage,” Hall said.
“The field may be ready, but the stadium won’t because we can’t get all the steel on time to finish the stadium, but there is hope we can be in our home stadium by game six or seven; either way, my team will be ready because we are road warriors.”
Hall wants the community to know that Lincoln Prep is building something special, and excitement is in the air.
“We are not building just a team, but we’re building a whole community now,” Hall said. “We are doing things the right way with more kids coming back to Grambling due to our growing educational system, the work that is being put in the community and the classroom is great, and it’s showing on the field now because everyone is working together for good.”
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