The Lakewood Lancers are under new management as head coach Scott Meyer returns to the Moore League.
Meyer turned the Jordan High program around in 2006 when he took over a 1-9 team. The Panthers proceeded to reach the playoffs in 2008 when future NFL linebacker John Timu won Moore League Player of the Year honors. Years later, Meyer coached the defense at Wilson under Mark Ziegenhagen. He also won CIF-SS championships at Corona del Mar and was most recently the head coach at Servite and University High.
“I’m really happy to be back in the Moore League,” Meyer said. “It really feels like home. I have great familiarity with the league and the area.”
Lakewood had made the CIF-SS playoffs for 15 consecutive seasons before missing the last two years with 3-win seasons under coach Mike Christensen. Meyer said he still believes Lakewood can get back to being competitive in league and in the postseason.
“Coach Christensen came in the last three years after he inherited a mess and really cleaned it up,” Meyer said. “It might take a little time, but this year we’d like to get this group in the playoffs and we feel like we can get it done. We need to lean to practice at a certain level and effort, and then head into each game with a little bit of swag.”
The Lancers will look to the seven returning starters to provide that leadership and mindset, but junior quarterback Gevani McCoy will likely end up being the most important returner. The dual threat scored nine touchdowns last season with only three interceptions. Meyer said that McCoy’s arm has gotten much stronger, but that he can still throw with touch.
McCoy’s top target on the outside will be returning starter Mister Bridges. The senior averaged almost 15 yards per reception last season. Sophomore Ormanie Arnold, sophomore A.J. Alvarez and senior Austin Levias will also be catching passes from McCoy. Meyer said Alvarez has a natural feel for the game, and Levias is a pleasant surprise from the track team.
In the backfield with McCoy will be a stable of capable ball carriers. Seniors James Voorhies,
Tyler Antwine, Owen Arnold, Dilon Anderson and sophomore Maleek Riley-Bridges could all see time at running back early in the season. Voorhies is the most experienced returner in the group, and could also line up at slot receiver in the new Lancer spread offense.
“We’re going to try to make it difficult on defenses while keeping it simple for us with a lot of motions and shifts,” Meyer said. “We want to make the defense think and hopefully slow them down a step.”
Senior center Dalton Mcallister and offensive/defensive tackle Chase Carter are the only returners in the trenches. They’ll block for McCoy and the other backs alongside sophomores Dylan Foster, Justin Andres and Malafou Tenari. Seniors Chris McQuillan and Reginald Anderson will also play on the line, but Meyer said he’s not afraid to let the underclassman start if they earn the spot.
“If you see them out there you probably wouldn’t guess that they’re sophomores,” Meyer said. “I understand there may be some growing pains but if we can have those guys ready for league that’s really the main goal.”
Carter, Tenari, sophomore Corey Farr, junior Christian Keil will likely be the starting four on the defensive line. Returning starter and senior captain Raymond Masoe is back at linebacker alongside sophomore Travis Perryman, who Meyer called, “one of the our toughest kids.”
Senior corner back Ernie Cartagena and Voorhies at safety are the returners in the secondary, with Alvarez and senior Hugo Solis also stepping in for new defensive coordinator Carl Agnew. He was the head coach at Los Amigos for 11 years where he impressed Meyer in three consecutive playoff matchups when Meyer was at Corona del Mar.
“To be successful we need to keep this staff together and let the families in the area know that we’re not only going to develop the young men as athletes, but we’re going to help them grow off the field and in the classrooms so when they leave Lakewood they can be successful in whichever direction they go,” Meyer said.