Two weeks ago, the Lincoln County High School varsity and junior varsity football teams took the field for tryouts, conditioning and some playbook review. On Tuesday, both teams held their first regular practices after enduring six days of two-a-days.

This year’s varsity team is short its entire offensive line from last year. Key players gone are Preston Robbins (RB/LB), Jordan Harrington (TE/LB), Derek Shumway (WR/LB), Kendal Thomas (OL/DL), Jessie McLean (OL/DL), Hyrum LeBaron (OL/LB), Christian Florence (RB/LB) Frank Barrett (OL/DL), and Rich Alfano (OL/DL). Another key loss was center A.J. Ernst, who moved to Las Vegas with his family.

Key returners this year are McClain O’Connor (QB/DB), Will Culverwell (RB/LB), Cody Thornock (RB/DB), Mike Wood (WR/DB), Zach Florence (TE/DL), Alex Samson (WR/LB) and Derek Mathews RB/LB.

There are seven JV players making the move to varsity this year – Landon Smith (QB/DB), Zach Rowe (RB/LB), Jordan Povis (OL/DL), Jacque Wadsworth (OL/DL), Benson Wadsworth (WR/LB), Matt Finlinson (OL/DL) and Kevin Mathews (TE/LB).

In his 17th year as LCHS head coach, Rich Ottley is excited and optimistic about the upcoming season and is looking forward to scrimmaging White Pine on Saturday. The coaching staff has focused a lot on filling the offensive line and where each player will best help the team.

“At a small school like LCHS, you have to figure out how to get your best 11 athletes on the field, even of its not their natural position,” Ottley said. “This requires kids to adopt the team concept, because a kid that could be a good fullback may have to play guard to make the team the best team it can be.”

The coach added, “We have great kids that have sacrificed and adopted change to make our team a contender.”