The Lancaster Tigers have proved over the last two years that they don't hit the reset button. They ante up instead.
When former head coach Chris Gilbert left for the University of Texas after a decade at the helm ahead of the 2021 season, the Tigers went three months without a coach as they sought the best possible replacement. They finally landed on Leon Paul in April 2021, a Duncanville assistant hailing from the Reginald Samples coaching tree, with essentially half an offseason for the team to acclimate to a new coach. But Lancaster was once again a well-oiled machine when August rolled around. The Tigers rattled off 10 straight wins after a season-opening loss to Port Arthur Memorial, earning a District 6-5A championship with an average victory margin of 38.3 points.
Now ahead of Paul's second year as the head man, Lancaster needs to produce another answer for a departing piece from last year's playoff team. Unanimous First Team All-District running back Isaiah Broadway is off to the University of Central Arkansas after compiling 1,077 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns his senior year. Unlike the 2021 offseason, there's not one clear solution.
While Broadway rumbled down the field on Friday nights, Kyson Brown bided his time on the junior varsity roster. But Brown didn't belong there. A year earlier, he had been a varsity sophomore running back at Tupelo High School in Missouri, rushing for 11 touchdowns on 6.82 yards per carry. When he moved to Lancaster ahead of his junior season, he was forced to compete only on JV due to UIL transfer rules.
Now ahead of his senior year, he's compiled 15 scholarship offers despite the fact he's never played a varsity snap in Texas. Before he chooses between Arizona State, Houston and Missouri, among others, he's looking to show off the work he's done as a junior to increase his speed. Brown helped Lancaster win the District 12-5A championship in track, clocking in at an explosive 10.9 second 100-meter dash and 21.71 200m dash. The form he fine-tuned during the spring has translated to the gridiron, as evidenced by his performance in Lancaster's Spring Game.
Brown's not the only running back who will get a chance to tote the rock this season.
Rising junior Kewan Lacy was first team all-state as a sophomore at Fort Worth Nolan Catholic, gashing opposing defenses for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns on the year. Now he's donning the Lancaster orange and black, switching from the private school TAPPS Division I district to 5A football. A three-star 2024 prospect, Lacy holds offers from Houston, California and TCU. At 5-feet-11 and 195 pounds, Lacy displays great balance and vision while also having home-run shot ability, as evidenced by his 10 yards per carry as a sophomore.
It'll be a team effort from Brown and Lacy to replace Broadway's superior production from last year's district championship team. Lancaster has been here before, however, this time they just have two cracks at it.
This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.