Lake Marion head football coach Jarvis Davis hopes last year’s moderate success on the field can be the foundation for future achievements.
“We have to get the kids to understand that we made the first round (of the playoffs), but I don’t want them to be satisfied with that,” Davis said.
In his first season as head coach Davis led Lake Marion to a 5-5 record and an appearance in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. It was the first playoff appearance for the Gators since making a run to the Class 2A semifinals in 2015.
While some of his athletes were unavailable due to spring sports commitments, Davis said he was pleased with the turnout during the spring football season.
“I’m a proponent of our athletes playing multiple sports, but we had a solid group of young players who will definitely have to play for us next year,” Davis said. “Our goal this spring was to get back to Lake Marion football, and adjust our kids to the speed at which we want to play.”
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Davis said a majority of spring and even summer workouts will be to have the players focused on the plans he and his coaching staff are trying to instill. Despite playing multiple sports, Davis said he was pleased with the work his players exhibited in the weight room.
“The coaches found time to get them in the weight room each day and you can see the changes in their bodies,” Davis said. “You can see how their speed is improving. The older guys are looking bigger, stronger and faster and the younger guys are learning the proper techniques.”
The Gators are led by quarterback Navian Hilliard who threw for 900 yards last season while rushing for over 500 yards. He accounted for 24 total touchdowns. One of his top targets will be Jaylin Davis who finished with 25 catches for 250 yards and five touchdowns last year. Running back Zayvion Washington returns after rushing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Davis said he expects linemen Tavarus Howell and Darren Bryant to play both offense and defense while Tymorean White is one of a number of players that played on Lake Marion’s undefeated B-Team last year.
“Winning at those lower levels (B-Team, junior varsity) helps give those players a tradition that they can bring with them to the varsity level,” Davis said. “They know what it takes to win.”
The new re-alignment places Lake Marion in a region with Oceanside Collegiate and Bishop England. Both will be moving down from 3A where they played last season. OCA advanced to the third round of the 3A playoffs before falling to Dillon. The other two teams in the region are Academic Magnet and Timberland. Academic Magnet is the only team from this new region not to have made the postseason a year ago.
“We have a tough schedule,” Davis said. “We have to step our game up right now, it comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes, that’s what hurt us last year.”
Lake Marion is scheduled to open the 2022 season Friday, Aug. 19 at home against Lucy Beckham.