Q&A with Lafayette coach Joey Pearson

Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.

1. What are your expectations for the season?

“We graduated some really good players. We feel like we have got some guys that are ready to replace them. We don't have a lot of seniors. We have a really good group of juniors that are coming back and have a lot of experience. Our expectations are to definitely be in the thick of the district race, with a chance to play for our district championship, hopefully, and play a bunch of playoff games and try to make a run at that point.”

2. Tell us about some players you expect big things from this year

“Offensively our quarterback Brycen Lee returns. We expect him to take on more of a leadership role as a junior. Running back Lee Jones was a starter last year we expect him to be an immediate impact on offense. Jajaun Commacho played quite a bit at tailback last year, and he will be our starting tailback. Wide receiver Tim Fleming did not play a lot of offense last year, we are expecting him to replace Rodney Brown at receiver. On the offensive line, we will have Austin Moody, who is the only returning starter. He has to establish some leadership on the line.”

3. In what areas do you expect your team to improve most from last year?

“We are expecting to be more versatile offensively because the experience those guys gained last year. We expect to have a very strong special teams with all-state kickers returning. Defensively, we lost some key guys, but we feel we have a chance to be just as good on defense as last year. Losing J.R. Bass (one of the area's leading rushers) will force us to be more balanced.”

4. Talk about the recent rivalry with Trenton, although you are not in the same district, you you open the season against the Tigers once again and could see them again in the state players, like you did in 2011 and 2012?

“We have always had tremendous games with Trenton, all the way through the 80s and 90s. The way it works now is we play them the first week and if things work out we will play them again, hopefully on Thanksgiving weekend. They are the team to beat in this area, they have earned that. We are not the only ones who have had difficulty beating them, we just have to play them twice and everyone else has played them once. They do a great job and have some great players. (Stephen) Smith, their quarterback, is probably one of the better players I've coached against. Just the way he handles difficult situations and his ability to break the game open with his speed. Their coaches do a great job. It is going to be a tremendous challenge for us. But also a big measuring stick for us to start out with them on Aug. 30. We got them in Mayo this year, which we hope will help. We are really looking forward to the opportunity to see where we are at against a great team.”

5. No other team has a better record at reaching the state playoffs than the Hornets (eight straight), but does that make it more frustrating when the season ends shorts of Orlando (site of the state final)?

“I have worked to maintain the consistency our program has enjoyed for a long time.

I hope to win it all some year but every year is different in terms or players, schedules and districts. If we can continue to make the playoffs, we give ourselves a shot to break through.”

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