SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Woodlawn Panthers

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Woodlawn Panthers
Woodlawn Panthers (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Stop No. 24 for Sportsline Summer Camp was with the Woodlawn Panthers, a team working hard to improve.

If you swing by Woodlawn High School during the summer mornings, you’ll find weights being lifted into the air and then hitting the floor. The Panthers are looking to leave behind last year’s 2-8 campaign as quickly as possible.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Woodlawn Panthers - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Woodlawn Panthers - Part 2

“Our kids are a little bit older,” said head coach Marcus Randall. “We had to start a lot of freshmen, a lot of freshmen and sophomores. A lot of those guys had the chance to get a lot of experience. They played a lot of football. and we look for those guys to bring that experience into this season.”

Sophomore quarterback Rickie Collins was thrown into the fire of Class 5A ball as a freshman last year. There were obviously mistakes but then growth.

“Now, it’s just like poetry in motion,” said Collins. “It’s real slow. Just picking defenses apart.”

Woodlawn’s two wins in 2019, Randall’s first season, came against Riverside Academy and McKinley.

Now in his second year, Randall said having played all those freshmen and sophomores last season will hopefully pay dividends in 2020.

“The depth and the size of the lineman is the biggest thing. Coming from a 1A or 2A program, you can play multiple guys both ways and those guys will stay in the game because the team on the other side is probably doing the same thing. Over here, you got two or three deep just on one side of the football. And it’s a long season. Might not be this year, but normally, it’s a long season,” Randall noted.

“I hope we get to have this season,” said senior safety Lanard Harris. “I want to put on a show and do whatever I have to do to bring my team to a championship.”

“We pushing each other. Guys pushing their limits. Finding new meaning for themselves. Getting stronger, getting faster, finding better endurance,” said Collins.

Woodlawn has a young man that’s been with the program for over a year, who the Panthers finally plan to unleash on Friday nights this fall.

“Amani Givens. He actually came here last year from Dutchtown. He had to sit out. He’s real strong in the weight room. He works hard. He’s probably one of our hardest workers. He never wants to stop working, actually,” Randall explained.

“We call him AG Muscle Man, AG Muscle Man. People are going to be surprised by him this year,” Harris pointed out.

And with four of the five offensive linemen returning and defensive talent back as well, Woodlawn will look for a bounceback campaign in 2020.

Anything else you want to add?

“Stay woke. Woodlawn Panthers. We here,” Collins replied.

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