Davion Edwards isn’t the most vocal. But his play the last two seasons speaks volumes for Lumberton football.
Now a junior, Edward enters 2017 as one of the Panthers’ unquestioned leaders at linebacker and running back.
“He’s a three-year starter for u,” Panthers coach Zach Jones said. “He’s a really good football player. But what sets him apart (is) he’s a really good person. He works extremely hard. He leads by example. And he’s even become a more vocal leader for us and we’re really counting on him. “
“I feel pretty honored to be representing right now,” Edwards said. “It does give me kind of a boost of confidence knowing that I’m kind of like the leader of the team.”
Edwards has proven himself as a high school standout. Still, he isn’t resting on his past feats. Panthers coach Zach Jones says you can expect to see a more explosive player.
“When he hit the weight room this summer he really hit it with a vengeance,” Jones said. “He’s worked extremely hard. All his maxes are going up. His bench, squad and clean. We were talking yesterday, we see him go from, as a freshman, 145 bencher to now he’s around 265, 275 max on his bench. So, he’s really putting the work in the weight room right now and it shows.”
Another added element for Edwards this off season has been his vocal leadership. This is expected with the experience he adds to a defense that returns most of its starters.
“A little bit,” Edwards said. “I’m making sure everybody on their reps and stuff. Making sure people come be on time.”
The Panther defense is shaping up to be pretty tough.
“Ten back,” Jones said. “Ten of our top eleven tacklers return. So, we’re expecting to be really good. We put an emphasis on getting bigger and stronger and faster this off season. It’s paying off on defense. Main thing is we want to be more physical on defense. Play defense like Lumberton’s been known for in the past. And judging by what happened in the spring game I think we’re on our way to doing that.”
The Panthers lost to Simmons in last year’s Class 1A championship game. But not all was lost. They welcome back experience on defense and talented offensive weapons in quarterback Jared Tribett, Rodriqus Coleman and Donnell Buckner.
“We have 17 back,” Jones said. “We’ve got some other kids who contributed last year. As Davion said earlier we had some young kids who’ve really worked hard in the weight room who are going to be ready to contribute for us. We just gotta take care of ourselves. That’s our motto every day, is take care of ourselves. Make sure Lumberton does what it’s supposed to do.”
Lumberton is no stranger to success, having won state titles in 1983, 2004, 2005 and 2010. Expectations are high but Edwards and his teammates don’t seem fazed.
“We kind of know where the bar is now,” Edwards said. “So we have to do everything we did last year and more.”
Jones expects to face another tough slate in Region 4-1A.
“I think it’s going to be a lot tougher than it’s been the last couple years,” Jones said. “We lost Bogue Chitto and picked up East Marion whose got a really good running back with some SEC offers. Resurrection has a bunch of seniors. They’re going to be really good. Stringer and Sacred heart both bring back a lot. So there’s no easy night in our division.”