The Lutheran South job was like a blessing from Heaven, so to speak for Jameson Allen. The former coach at U City was hired this past spring and has been all hands on.
“It’s going great. For me this is a position that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, I got the players that are excited, not that I didn’t have it before, but they had a little success last year and it’s nice to come into a program that has some establishments. It’s a little easier to get guys on board with things when they tasted success.”
Allen came from U City after two years coaching there and he takes over after Chuck Faucette accepted a coaching position in Texas. He credits Faucette for building the program up.
“Coach Faucette was here the last five years and he set it up for success and he passed the torch. For me this is an ideal situation because I don’t really have to build it from the ground up, I just have to take control and steer it in the right direction.”
The Lancers return most of their starters from both sides of the ball after going 6-5 in the 2015 season. A lot appears to be looking bright for this campaign and the future.
“That’s makes it a special situation because we got guys that are young, but are battle-tested. Going into everything that we’re trying to do they’re just excited. There’s nothing better than to see guys fired up. You can see the fire in their eyes every day when they come to work. They bring their lunchpail because they want to work.”
For years Lutheran South was a run-heavy team, but not anymore with Allen and a new coaching staff calling the shots. They plan to run a spread offense that has forced the players to adjust, but are stimulated at the same time.
“It’s an offense they’ve never done before in this school. It’s going to look different.”
Quarterback, Vito Orlando will most likely throw more than 54 passes this season. The six-foot sophomore has plenty of targets to look for.
“Darrick (Scott) and Colton (Bates) both are going to touch the ball a lot and then on the other side we have Elijah Schumer, who was a kicker last year and didn’t do much on offense, but has shown he can do it. R.J. Benkelman will be on the other side.”
Lutheran South just so happens to have one of the best running backs in the area in Cody Schrader. The junior ran for an astonishing 2,441 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also scored 216 points, which was among the area's best.
“We’re going to run the ball. We got one of the better runners in the area so we’re going to make sure to we feed the beast.”
More good news for the Lancers is that they return of four of their five starters on the offensive line. They’ll be led by Christian Shelton.
“When you got a leader on that line like a Christian Shelton he’s a hard worker. He’s the last one out of the weight room and a guy that will lead those front line guys. As a coach that likes the offensive side of the ball, you gotta have that guy that will get those guys riled up. He’s the perfect specimen for this type of system because he can run, he’s physical and he’s just hard nosed.”
Lutheran South returns most of their defense from 2015, including Shelton, Schrader, and KeShon Spraggins at linebacker. Schrader led the team with 158 tackles and Spraggins was right behind him with 83. They welcome in some newcomers that coach Allen fancies will be impact players.
“We got things in our toolbox that we can just bring that whole thing out and we can make this thing anyway we want to depending on what we see defensively. At corner we got Darrick and on the other edge we got a freshman who’s going to be really good in Jabari Harris. We got some guys that if they do just enough that it could be special once we get this thing rolling.”
Unfortunately, the Lancers won’t get any favors being in the tough and demanding Metro League. Burroughs, Lutheran North, and Westminster are ranked in the GSV small school week one rankings, in that order.
“This is a very good conference with excellent programs and across the board there’s never an easy week. They’re hard to beat every year because those are programs that are always well coached, but that’s what we want to do here as well.”
With all those successful programs in one conference, Allen’s goal is to grow the Lutheran South program and one day be up right with those schools.
“We want to bring in great athletes and have great coaches. Eventually I want to be in the same conversation with those schools because they’ve figured it out and they do it right. That’s what I want to do and in this part of my career that’s why I wanted to be at a school like this so I could build something like that, and that type of recognition for this school.”
The Lancers are one of the most exciting teams in the area for three reasons:
1.) They return have some of the best young talent in the area in Schrader, Spraggins, Scott, Orlando and a handful of others that will get their chance to shine.
2.) We will get to witness this talent in a spread offense that no one has ever seen at Lutheran South.
3.) This has been a program that was in the dark ages for a long time. Chuck Faucette started the rebuilding phase and now Allen has come along to build the next step. It’s incredibly entertaining to see a football program do what Lutheran South is doing.
Now, as for what they will be expected to do, this team has great potential to better themselves from last season. They could easily fall into some tough sledding in Metro League play. A double digit win total, including playoffs, would crazy. So crazy it just might come to fruition.
“We got to stay healthy like everybody else and we’ve got to things right and we got to get these kids excited about it. If we do that then these guys can be really good.”