Two of Lakeside High School’s football standouts committed to play college football at a Friday ceremony at the school.
Senior linebacker Austen Townsend signed on to play for Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga. Senior wide receiver Forrest Nanney agreed to continue his football career at Centre College in Danville, Ky.
“They’ve been unbelievable leaders,” football coach Jarrett Troxler said. “They’ve been part of our football program for four years and they’ve been totally committed for four years.”
Troxler said he’s coached both players since middle school and their hard work, in large part, contributed to them continuing their football careers in college.
“Each of them paid their dues early as freshmen, working hard and kept on working their way up,” Troxler said. “Both of them ended up having a tremendous senior year.”
Townsend, 18, is heading to Berry College to play with former Lakeside players Alec Leesburg and McTier Moseley under the direction of Kenny Baker, Lakeside’s former defensive coordinator and Berry College’s linebacker coach.
But the love of football and the camaraderie it brings is a big reason Townsend said he’ll enjoy playing in college.
“Coming together with your friends. It’s about the bonds you build with people, your teammates,” Townsend said of what he loves about football. “I love it. I’m so excited that I get the chance to play another four years.”
Townsend said he plans to study electrical or construction engineering and hopes to transfer to Georgia Tech before graduation.
Nanney, 18, said his football career has been fueled by the love of the game and contributed to his decision to continue into college football.
“Honestly, it’s just a lot of fun to me,” Nanney said. “Especially going to a place like Centre College, it’s a small school. That group of guys, I just think it’d be a lot of fun.
“I think it’ll be cool though, a whole new experience, just like a whole life change I guess.”
Nanney said a high-point of his senior season was playing in the Border Bowl, the best players from Georgia and South Carolina playing each other.
Troxler said he’s proud to see these two players play football in college since both have worked hard all four years at Lakeside.
He said Townsend played numerous positions on the field. He persevered, worked hard and stayed positive.
“He ended up being a hell of a football player for us,” Troxler said. “I’m so proud of him.
Nanney became a successful football player “the right way” by working hard and making a commitment to the team.
“He left his mark on Lakeside football here,” Troxler said. “People are going to remember Forrest Nanney as they will with Austen Townsend.”