Warrick Dunn Award Finalist: Southern Lab LB Damone Clark

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been a rough start to 2018 for Damone Clark and the Southern Lab Kittens, as their back-to-back state championships were stripped and then a coaching change was made just four days before the season opener - a 54-0 loss to Riverside.

"Getting the titles stripped away from you, I mean that really hurt," said Damone Clark, Southern Lab linebacker. "When I found out the news, I couldn't even ... I was lost for words. I didn't know what to say. Some changes needed to be made in order for us to achieve what we needed to achieve. And we immediately changed it and week-by-week, we actually progressed and got better."

"When you have a Damone Clark on your team that can talk to the guys and they trust him and they listen to him, that's always a plus for us," said Southern Lab head coach Darrel Asberry. "And I was just fortunate enough to have him on our football team and happy for him to be a part of the school that I graduated from, Southern Lab High School."

Clark and the Kittens would return to the Southern Lab we know. Although ineligible for the playoffs, the Kittens won five of their last seven games, with the only losses being close games to perennial powers Parkview Baptist and Kentwood. Clark made 81 tackles, nine quarterback sacks, and eight tackles for loss this year.

"Either way it go, we had to play them games. And I had a lot of people looking at me, whether that was older than me or younger than me, I had everybody looking at me. So, whatever they saw me doing, they were going to turn around and do it," Clark added.

"With any profession, as long as you have team discipline or anything that you do, you're going to be successful. And he helped control that and he kept the guys in line. He's such a great person on and off the football field," Asberry explained.

Clark is already signed with LSU and can't wait to play linebacker for the Tigers.

"I'm at home. I'm excited about it and there's not a doubt in my mind that I made the right decision. I'm confident in the decision I made, my parents are confident in the decision I made. Now, it's just time for me to wait my turn and when my chance comes, just take my opportunity," Clark said.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.