Adversity for Lanier goes beyond field
Sure the Jackson Lanier High School Bulldogs are facing some adversity after starting the football season with an 0-4 record.
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However, it was nothing like the program experienced during the offseason.
Deronnie Spencer, a two-sport athlete for the Bulldogs, was shot and killed in July and his loss is still being felt.
"We're still recovering from that and the kids are recovering from that," Lanier coach Damion Longino said.
Even though the death of Spencer continues to be on the mind of the Bulldogs, Longino said the situation should not be used as an excuse for the squad's poor record so far this season.
Longino said "we've just got a lot of work to do" and hopes the players will continue to push forward.
Lanier appears to have improved as the season as progressed.
After losing to South Delta 28-14, Murrah 40-23 and Jim Hill 29-12, the Bulldogs were competitive in dropping an 8-6 decision to McClain last week.
Longino is anxious to open the Class 5A, Region 2, District 6 part of the schedule at Starkville (7:30 p.m.) on Friday night to see how Lanier stacks up against the Yellowjackets.
"We've struggled a lot, but we are very athletic," Longino said. "I think we can come in and give Starkville a challenge. We're real fast and have a lot of team speed so I think that's what we're going to bring to the table.
"We're not very big. We do have some team speed so we'll see what we can do. I think Starkville is going to be a great measuring stick for our program and the rest of the year."
The most dangerous Bulldog appears to be junior Jarrid Smith, who rushed for 214 yards, three touchdowns and made 15 tackles in one game this season.
Longino has attempted to deliver the message this week that the first four games of the season are over and the division schedule is important now.
"The thing I'm telling these kids is the season is starting right now so those first four losses really don't matter," Longino said.