Coach Cory Campbell, Coach Judd Smith, Jackson Thompson (#12), Jonathan Barrows (#17), Luca Gisellu (#52), Hill Hardin (#10), Terrence Clark (#7), Tremaine Bell (#15), Deonte Taylor (#59) and Coach Lonnie Jordan

Exchange Club members got an insider’s look at Wildcat football prospects from Lake Highlands High School coaches Thursday night at their Fall Kickoff at Back Country Bar-B-Q. Not an Exchange Club member? Here’s the scoop.

Head Coach Lonnie Jordan said fans will see big changes when the season begins Sept. 1.

“When you take over a program, you can only hope that in 3 years you can affect enough kids to build enough consistency and culture to turn a program around. We think that’s where we are. We’re very excited about the young men who have committed to the program, who have sacrificed and stuck with it. We’re seeing consistency out of our young players we weren’t seeing 3 years ago.”

The changes aren’t just mental, said Jordan.

“Physically we’ve changed. We strap ‘em up, we walk ‘em off the bus, we walk ‘em out of that tunnel and there’s an intimidation factor. When I first got here, these guys were little-bitty skinny things. The more Back Country barbecue I can feed them and the more time in the weight room they have, the better they do.

“The character of our team and the leadership is exactly what we need to hold everything together. We’ve got the right pieces in place. Offensively, we’ve got what we need to play an exciting brand of football.”

Jordan, who is doing his second stint coaching for the Wildcats and has grappled recently with smaller numbers or seen valuable players move elsewhere, said things are changing.

“We’re exploding. I know the young population [in LH schools] is expanding, but that’s not affecting us yet at the high school. What we’re doing is creating excitement and retention, so our players are staying longer. That’s a correlation to what these coaches are doing, the support we get from administration, and the way these leaders on the team handle themselves on campus.

“Our motto this year is: Own It. I’ve told the players, ‘This is your team. What you put into this is what you’ll get out of it. No excuses. There is no one on the schedule we can’t beat.’”

Jordan introduced his captains, including Deonta Taylor (#59), who already has scholarship offers to play college ball at the University of Central Oklahoma and Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Trumane Bell (#15) with 19 scholarship offers, Terrance Clark (#7) also with an offer to play at NOSU, Hill Hardin (#10, Luca Gisellu (#52), Jonathan Barrows (#17) and QB Jakson Thomson (#12).

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Cory Campbell shares Jordan’s enthusiasm.

“We’ve got more skilled guys, so the offense is going to be more wide open,” said Campbell. “We’ll be balanced, but we’ll be throwing the ball more. We’re not going to put a square peg in a round hole – we’ll mold our offense to our personnel.”

Exchange Club members had lots of questions, including about the impact of youth players on future Wildcat teams.

“We’ve done more with the youth movement than I’ve ever done in my career. Elementary 7-on-7 was lit up in the spring. We had multiple teams, travel teams, we created an RISD league – we started as early as is workable with Saturday clinics. Numbers were incredible. You throw something out in Lake Highlands and they eat it up. Our Mesquite game on Sept. 1 will be our ‘Elementary and Junior High Night,’ and we’ll invite all those kids to experience Friday Night Football in Lake Highlands.”

Also celebrated Thursday night were the 2017-18 Bell Boys, sponsored annually by the Exchange Club. The Club presented megaphones to Kyle Guion, Ross Burris, Gunnar Moll and Thapelo Khoabane.

Season tickets to Wildcat football games are sold out, but general admission tickets will be available at the gate. The schedule is online here, but note that the Berkner game, listed as Fri. Sept. 29, has been moved to Thursday, Sept. 28. We’ll be on the home side this year.

Go Cats!

Coach Lonnie Jordan with LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich and Exchange Club President Patrick Brown