Lemuel Lackey has walked out to coach at Laney’s football stadium for years. But come next January, he will get a new twist on the experience.
Lackey was named Team Georgia’s head coach for Border Bowl III, which will be held Jan. 9, 2016, at Lucy C. Laney Memorial Stadium. Midland Valley’s Rick Knight will coach Team South Carolina as many of the area’s top senior football players meet in a postseason All-Star Game.
“It’s just an honor to be able to represent, not necessarily [just] your players and your coaches, but the county and the state as well,” Lackey said.
“Any time that you step out there on the gridiron, there’s pressure to win. You want to do a good job, but more importantly, you want to have a quality product to put out there, get the kids ready to play.”
Lackey took over as Laney’s head coach before the 2007 season after he previously held title of defensive coordinator for friend Eric Parker, who left Laney to be Burke County’s head coach.
Since taking over, Lackey has yet to have a losing season. He’s 56-33 in eight years as the Wildcats’ coach, reaching the state playoffs seven times. In 2013, Laney had its best run with Lackey as head coach, going 10-3 and making the Class AA state quarterfinals. This past season, the Wildcats 7-4 and lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
Over in South Carolina, Knight has taken the Mustangs to as far as the state quarterfinals. Since 2008, Knight has led Midland Valley to the second round in four different seasons. In 2014, backed by a powerful offense, the Mustangs went 7-5 and got to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
In the first two editions of the Border Bowl, both Georgia and South Carolina won once. Georgia won the inaugural game 24-10 in 2014 and South Carolina won 12-8 this January in the second game.
“In a lot of cases, you don’t know these people really, except from across the field,” Knight said. “There’s a lot of storytelling. It’ll be fun.”