Lions Looking to Roar Once More

When this year's Vernon High School seniors were in seventh grade, the Lions went to the State Semifinals.

When they were in eighth grade, Vernon was a state quarterfinalist

But the last two years have been rough for the Lions.

Sophomore quarterback Parker Johnson, pushed into starting duty last year due to injury, called it a learning experience.

That's one way to look at an 0-10 season, coming on the heels of a 1-9 year.

But now they're in their second year under head coach Andy Correll, and they think they're ready to make some noise.

"Their motivation was fixing 0-and-10 from last season," said Correll about the players' goals this year.

Johnson started eight games last season after starter Brandon Urquizo went down with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, and he will get at least one more start at quarterback this year. Urquizo is suspended for the first game of the season for an off-field incident this past spring.

Coach Correll is confident in his young backup.

"He's just a competitor," Correll said. "You know, he's going to find a way to get the ball out to the playmakers and let them do their job."

Parker knows what his offense will need to do August 26th at Sweetwater.

"Keep the ball," he says. "Go down there, and score and score and score. Try to keep the defense off the field."

The Lions' passing offense is looking pretty good in practice, now in year two of Correll's Tony Franklin System spread offense, but there's always room for improvement.

"We've gotta get better at running the football," says Coach Correll. "I wasn't real pleased with our scrimmage Saturday against Pilot Point on running the football. Even though we're in the shotgun-spread, we still want to be able to run the football."

One key to turning things around after a couple of losing seasons is keeping spirits high.

"We've got to be real intense," Parker said. "Sweetwater's pretty good. They're going to bring it. They're going to be pumped and so are we."