Coach Jep Irwin was encouraged by the progress his team made during the spring, which the Trojans will conclude with their spring game today.
“Everything has gone really well,” the fourth-year coach said. “We got some good work in, and we avoided major injuries, so it was very productive.”
With most of its key players returning, Lassiter has high hopes of taking another step forward after a 2011 season in which it went 10-4 and advanced to the state semifinals, where they lost to archrival Walton.
With the invaluable experience of last year’s semifinal run under their belt, Irwin said his squad learned a lot about what it takes to contend for a state championship.
“Our players learned that, if we play as hard as we did (in last year’s state playoffs), and play as smart as we did, we can be very successful,” Irwin said. “We can be successful if we do all of the little things right.”
Lassiter does have some holes to fill as it tries to find replacements for wide receivers Charlie Hegedus, Adam Dowell, running back Isaiah Willis and cornerback Niles Clark.
Helping Lassiter in its quest for the state title this fall will be the return of rising senior quarterback Eddie Printz, a UCLA commitment.
It will be the third year in the starting lineup for Printz, who led the county with 2,564 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago, and Irwin said that experience will make his senior quarterback even more valuable.
“Eddie is a third-year starter, and he is in complete command of the offense,” Irwin said. “He has learned to be a leader, and his command of the offense will be crucial for us.”
Printz will have his primary target of a year ago — rising senior wide receiver Juwan Dickey — returning as well.
“Juwan is a game-breaker,” Irwin said. “He scored three touchdowns in four games in the state playoffs last year. He is very, very talented, and he is in his third spring with us, so he’s progressed from being a young guy when he started with us to being an experienced veteran on our team.”
Rising senior wide receiver Willie Police will also return to once again play a key role with the offense.
On defense, the Trojans return their leading tackler from last year, rising senior defensive lineman Josh Danforth.
While Lassiter will lose four seniors from its secondary, it does have three rising seniors — cornerbacks Devontae Moore and Patrick Levandoski and defensive back Robert Dowling — ready to step into the starting lineup.
It will be a busy summer for Lassiter, which will resume its role as host of the Georgia Invitational 7-on-7 tournament July 20-21. The Trojans will also participate in the national 7-on-7 tournament the following week in Hoover, Ala.
Lassiter will host Flowery Branch in a preseason scrimmage Aug. 24 before opening its season a week later. The Trojans will face Hillgrove in the first game of an all-Cobb doubleheader which also includes Walton-McEachern in the nightcap.