After finishing in the Class 2A quarterfinals a year ago the Lindsay Leopards are looking for even more in 2020. The Leopards are riding a 12-year streak of making the playoffs and last year was the furtherest they have advanced since 2011 when they made it to the semifinals.
“We are ready to get back on the football field,” coach John Inman said. “We graduated a talented group of players off last year's team that had a good playoff run.
“The potential is there, we need to embrace the competition and develop over the course of the season.”
Coach Inman is 34-14 as he enters his fifth season at Lindsay. He has run the spread offense since he took over the head coaching position and continues to fit the talent coming through Lindsay.
“All of our kids have been in the system since I got here,” Inman said. “It leads to a smooth transition from year to year. We adapt to the talent we have but within the frame work of our system.”
A huge part of the spread offense returns for the Leopards. Senior quarterback Taryn Kesler (5-11, 160) threw for 1,435 yards a year ago with 15 touchdowns.
Lane McKee had 78 carries for the Leopards a year ago for 515 yards and 6 touchdowns. He can play in the back field or out wide depending on the situation. He will share time in the backfield with senior Austin Stroud (5-8, 170).
Senior Cade Belveal (5-11, 165) will be one of the main receivers in the offense. He has good speed and hands and will be a viable part of the offense.
Solid players up front will not only give Kesler time in the passing game but will open up holes for Stroud and McKee. Senior Caden Franklin (6-1, 260) will anchor the offensive line. Dalen Mitchell, Axel Stephen, Dagun Harrelll and Trace Adams will work around Franklin.
The Leopards return six players in the 3-4 defense. “I want us to play with great technique and chase the ball relentlessly,” Inman said about his defense.
Seniors Mitchell and Stroud return in the middle of the defense at linebacker. Stroud was one of the leaders last year with 86 tackles and 2 interceptions. Mitchell (6-0, 215) added 69 tackles.
Up front, Stephen (6-0, 190) returns at defensive end where he had 71 tackles a year ago. Franklin, Adams and Harrell will work up front with Stephen.
McKee and Belveal will be a huge part of the secondary. McKee had 83 tackles a year ago and Belveal added 45. Both have the ability to cover in passing game but are also huge in the run game.
The Leopards are a preseason top 10 in Class 2A and a favorite to win district 2A-4.
“Our district will be very competitive with the addition of Marlow and Frederick to an already strong district,” Inman said. “I expect us to be competing for a top spot in the district. To do so we will need to play very well and stay healthy.”
The Leopards opening game with Pauls Valley last week was moved to week three of the season. Lindsay will open up at home with Purcell Friday night and follow that up with a game at highly rated Washington in 2A.