There’s a lot to be excited about at Lakewood after winning a playoff game for the first time in a decade last season, but the Lancers are keeping things in perspective going into their season opener against St. Anthony on Friday night at Clark Field.
“Friday night has got to be a celebration,” Lakewood second-year coach Scott Meyer said. “It’s been a long time. We’ve got close to 90 kids (in the program) now so I want to make sure we go out there with the mindset to win, but hey, it’s also a mindset that we’re (able to be) playing football right now.”
The most exciting thing about this season is undoubtedly the return of quarterback/defensive back Anthony Eyanson. The incredibly athletic junior stopped playing football to concentrate on baseball, and Meyer was able to talk him into coming back.
“When he first came out he wanted to be a receiver and defensive back so we saw him run around a little bit,” Meyer said. “I called him and another coach over and told them the story of (Jordan High alum John) Timu and how incredible he was. Then I looked at Anthony and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ Just the type of kid he is, he jumped right in at quarterback. He’s so smart and immediately picked up the offense.”
Much like Timu, who was the 2008 Moore League Player of the Year as a quarterback and defensive back under Meyer, Eyanson is a mobile, strong-armed signal caller who commands the respect of his teammates with his poise and confidence.
“I want to push everyone as a leader and make sure our whole team is focused,” said Eyanson, who isn’t worried about wearing himself down as a multi-sport athlete. “I consider myself an athlete who wants to pursue his dreams any way possible. I feel like a lot of us football and baseball players dream about moments like this where we can go out on a Friday night to play football, score touchdowns and get a win and then go play baseball on the weekend and go 2-for-3.”
Meyer is back coaching the quarterback and defensive backs, so he’s spent a lot of time with Eyanson.
“He’s one of the hardest working guys and he has incredible smarts and instincts,” Meyer said. “You don’t see it from a lot of kids nowadays but he’s got natural leadership. He’s a good leader. He’s not super loud or vocal but he gets in the huddle, makes the calls, and he’ll communicate. He has presence and he’s a confident kid.”
“(Meyer) is a great coach and knows exactly what he’s doing,” Eyanson said. “He’s made a bunch of good football players, and everybody who listens to what he says to all of us just grows as a player and it’s really great to have him as a coach.”
It will be a running back by committee full of newcomers with senior Kingston Foster, junior Auggie Lyons and sophomore Kaleb Foster getting the most reps with Eyanson.
Junior Anthony Alvarez Jr. is the only starting receiver returning, so Meyer is hoping the rest of his outside threats get a lot of chances to build chemistry and timing with Eyanson. Tyshon Hines, Marcell Lineberger, Devon Bush, Jayvon Rodriguez and others will be in the mix.
Meyer plans on letting a handful of starters play both ways in order for them to gain experience together with only eight seniors on the roster. Eyanson and Alvarez are two of them, and they’ll both be part of secondary that is vastly improved with the addition of Hines and Julius Jimenez.
Junior captain Dylan Foster is going to be a leader in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Because a few linemen opted out of this season due to COVID-19 concerns, He’ll be flanked by Malafou Tenari and a crop of fresh faces. Meyer said Noah Mallen leads the newcomers and reminds him of Foster.
Foster will be joined by returner Donald Jones on the line. Junior Travis Perryman, junior Rocky Tautai, senior Issac Ua, junior Jermaine Subia and junior Kory Farr make up a linebacking corps full of young experience.
“We’re feeling pretty good,” Perryman said. “We’ve got some guys and we just have to put the puzzle pieces together.”
With the Lakewood track and field still under construction, the Lancers will play their home games at Cabrillo High.
Schedule (All games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Friday, March 12
Lakewood vs. St. Anthony at Clark Field
Friday, March 19
Poly vs. Lakewood at Cabrillo
Friday, March 26
Lakewood at Jordan
Saturday, April 3
Lakewood at Millikan, 12 p.m.
Friday, April 9
Lakewood vs. Compton at Wilson
Friday, April 16
Wilson vs. Lakewood at Cabrillo