West Oktibbeha quarterback Von Smith is expected to be recovered from an injury suffered during the track season and be ready for the 2012 football season. (Photo by Lee Adams, For Starkville Daily News)
Success for the West Oktibbeha Timberwolves during the 2012 football season could be as simple as one, two, three.
The Timberwolves are counting heavily on the players who wear those jersey numbers and three other seniors going into the fall.
West Oktibbeha football coach Adam Lowrey said Von Smith, Kelsey Jefferson, Tiberias Lampkin, Johnathan Love, Johnny Chambers and Donovan Henderson have bought into what the program represents for a long time and are showing veteran leadership.
"It's just time for this group," Lowrey said. "It's been a big part of our team ever since they came up through 9th grade. They are always going to be at practice and are six seniors that have never missed a practice basically."
Lowrey was pleased to see the young players progress during spring practice and that he had the six seniors leading the way.
Even though two of the seniors were getting over track injuries, just having their presence at practice made the difference.
"When you have kids that are going to be there every day," Lowrey said. "They want to be there, they are going to lead, do what you say and let the other ones know they need to follow."
Lampkin, who has been able to squat 585 pounds and run a 4.6, was the first leg of the 4x100 that qualified for state championship. Jefferson squats 400 pounds and runs a 4.7, while Chambers recorded a squat of 600 pounds in April.
Smith, the quarterback that has been known to put up huge numbers for the Timberwolves, had a muscle pull in his abdomen and was limited in the spring.
"He's fine now, but just had to keep him away from contact," Lowrey said. "He was on crutches for a while waiting for that bone to connect back to the muscle."
Although skilled positions seem to be one of the strengths of West Oktibbeha with Jefferson, Lampkin and Love, Lowrey is searching for some help at receiver.
"This is the first year we need a receiver," Lowrey said. "We've got a lot of young receivers, but our offensive line is going to be solid. Our running backs and quarterbacks are very, very solid. At receiver, we have some kids that really haven't played much.
"I need two more guys to step up. I have the kids that can do it. We've got kids that can run, catch and one that can jump out of the gym, but they've just got to get their confidence up."
One of the ways to do that is having 7-on-7 competition this summer and once again the Timberwolves plan to go that route against teams like Noxubee County and Starkville.
It's experiences like those that Lowrey said can only help his squad improve.
"That's competition you can't get anywhere else," Lowrey said.
(Editor's Note: This is the final story of a series highlighting high school spring football practices in the area.)
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