Hornets look to follow up with another strong regular season and make deep run in playoffs

COACH: Joey Pearson, 20th season

2017 RECORD: 9-2

REGION: 3-1A

QUOTABLE: “Our expectations are the same as they are every year, we are trying to get into the playoffs. We were happy to get back last year after missing a couple of years. Maybe we can gain some experience and it can help us this year do better in the state playoffs. We feel we have a good schedule with a lot of competitive games against teams that can help us gain us some points to hopefully get some bonus points and maybe a home playoff game. A lot of battles to come, hopefully we can stay healthy and give ourselves a chance.’” - Joey Pearson

STAR WATCH: Junior quarterback Jaxson Beach, a dual threat who, as a sophomore, passed for 2,001 yards with 27 touchdowns and four interceptions, also rushed for 731 yards and 11 TDs and averaged 42.6 yards a punt; senior running back Garris Edwards, who topped 1,000 yards for second straight season (1,033) with 13 TDs; and senior wide receiver Ben Massey, who caught 44 passes for 777 yards (17.7 avg.) with 13 touchdowns are the only three starters on offense returning. Junior Davin Taylor will anchor the defensive line and senior Malik Jennings, along with Massey and Edwards manning the secondary.

NEW FACES: Junior Joseph Perry will move to center, defensively junior Blake Braswell and senior Xavier Fleming will be at inside linebacker and junior Jarrett Pearson at outside linebacker; Bell transfer junior John Powers will help out at running back and defensive end, senior wide receiver Ritchy James and junior Adam Perry is also expected to help out at wideout.

BEST CASE: Lafayette follows up with another strong regular season, led by Beach, who is in his second year as a starter and the team’s leader. Edwards runs rampant once again, topping 1,000 yards for third straight season and Massey has another big season receiving; new offensive line may struggle a big early but jells a few games in and another 9-1 and possibly 10-0 season a possibility, and a home playoff berth is earned.

WORST CASE: Injuries to some key offensive members robs a potential strong season and fails to produce a playoff berth.

PREDICTION: Should Lafayette open the season with a road win, look out. Many of the Hornets tougher games are at home, and 9-1 seems likely.

WHERE LAFAYETTE RANKS: The Hornets rank 5th among 21 area teams in The Sun’s preseason poll.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 24    at Brookwood, Ga.         7:30 p.m.

Aug. 31    at Bronson                    7:30 p.m.

Sept. 7     Chiefland                      7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14   at Jefferson County       7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21   West Oaks Academy     7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28   Branford                      7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5       at Bell                         7:30 p.m.

Oct. 12     P.K. Yonge                  7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19     at Graceville                 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 26    Trenton                         7:30 p.m.

Nov. 2      IDLE