There isn’t a position on the field that hasn’t been hit by that bug this season, some even more than once.
But the Lions will continue to handle that problem the best they can as they head into battle against region foe South Paulding tonight.
Despite the injuries, and despite that the Lions have little more than pride on the line as they head into their last game of the season, there is hope for the future, and the future starts with the naming of their stadium.
Before the game tonight, Lithia will hold a ceremony to name their stadium after Melvin Cook. Cook, who passed away earlier this year, was a long time coach in the county and spent nine years at LSHS, where he served as football head coach and athletic director. As coach of Lithia, he won more games, and had a higher winning percentage than any other coach in school history. He spent 23 years total in the Douglas County School System.
Current Lithia head coach Scott Dean is thrilled to bring back some of the history of the school as he tries to turn the football program around and bring it back to its roots.
“One of the first things I wanted to do when I got this job was to give this school more of an identity,” said Dean. “We are grasping to hang onto our history here at Lithia. There have been some good teams in the past, Crook was the head coach of the majority of them.”
This season, however, has not went to plan, and the main culprit has been the injuries. The Lions lost more and more players as the season progressed and the biggest blow came a few weeks ago when the team lost their starting QB, Sammy Cornelius.
Despite the loss, Lithia went into battle with Woodland the following week (Oct. 19) and managed to pull off an upset, winning their first game of the season, 27-14. The win continued the Lions streak of never having a winless football season.
However, tonight, Lithia (1-8) will play a solid South Paulding (5-4), which will be looking to hand out a little punishment after just missing out on a state playoff berth.
South Paulding will finish in fifth place in the region, missing out of state on a potential tie-breaker if North Paulding loses. If NPHS does lose, they will hold on to the fourth spot by one point, after a 29-28 victory over the Spartans on Oct. 5.
The Spartans are a primarily running team, led by back Jae Bowen. Senior QB Chandler Burks manages the offense, and also plays some as a wide receiver. He plays cornerback on defense. Bowen doubles as a safety on defense.
The defense is led by senior defensive end Carnell Hopson, who leads the team in tackles. He is joined by senior linebackers Josh Anderson, Jonathan Pritchett, and John Pettway.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.