Lake Norman & Mooresville

SouthLake hopes experience pays off

With 13 seniors on its roster, SouthLake Christian will have what coach Rich Landis says is the most experienced team in program history.

"All these guys have been with us for a number of years, having come up through our middle school," he said. "We're really excited."

Landis said the senior class work ethic will probably be the group's biggest asset to the Eagles.

"These guys are leading the way," he said. "The lower-classmen see that leadership and that makes our team better. ... That's a big intangible."

The seniors and the rest of the Eagles will need to come up big to fill the voids left by its six graduates, including all-state quarterback Sam Remick, all-state wide receiver Travis Hallman and all-state lineman Charles Hazzard.

"We'll miss those guys, but we'll have more depth overall," he said. "We've had more guys come out for football than ever before."

Although the senior core will dominate on the lines, juniors will be heavily depended upon in skill positions.

Juniors Demetri Allison and Andre Diouf should be key on both sides of the ball.

At quarterback, senior Kendal Godwin and junior Randy Schroeder, who played for the Lake Norman Storm home- and private-school team last year, are competing for the starting spot with sophomore Richard Landis not far behind.

"It's been a really good, healthy competition," said coach Landis, who's Richard's father.

Allison should be the Eagles' top receiver.

"He's a very good athlete," said Landis. "He's going to be a very big key for us."

Senior Austin Capps, who was mainly a defensive back last season, should also contribute on the receiving end.

Diouf will get the majority of his reps on the offensive end, where he will be responsible to produce at running back.

Alex Rose, a junior, should split time between receiver and as a back.

Landis said SouthLake will have depth on both lines - something that he admits is rare at a small private school.

The offensive line should be one of the biggest in SouthLake history with seniors Troy Lowden (6-foot-4, 270 pounds), Josh Furrow (6-foot-1, 255-pounds), Taylor Jurney (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) and Stephen Bolten (6-foot, 220 pounds) leading the way.

"They're a very cohesive group and they know the offense well," said Landis. "That should help us out a lot."

Defensively, Jurney - one of SouthLake's top tacklers last year - and senior linebacker Adam Gilkerson will lead in the box, while Allison, a free safety, and Diouf, a corner, will star in a strong secondary.

Landis said his team should have the personnel to more successfully stop the run, which he admits has been the team's weakness in recent years.

"We would love them to throw with the talented d-backs we have," he said.

After making it to the second round of the NCISAA Division II playoffs last year, Landis said the team's main goal is to again go back.

"It'll be a challenge, but it's attainable," he said.