With the heat of the current illegal play issues beating down on the Lakeside High School's football "program," I am left wondering if Lakeside will ever have another winning season. This "program" is more like a forum for parents to make decisions (in which they have no business being part of) and a cheating coach shining a huge spotlight on this "school of excellence." Talk about your oxymoron.
Since the retirement of Steve Crislip..., LHS football has been a mess. The best coaching hire of this terrible era was Ed Koester. He gave his players a new offense, college-like coaching style and the biggest powder-keg in LHS's "booster club"-parents' political involvement era: his son at quarterback.
This is where Lakeside went downhill. Booing of home-team parents against their own team? Talk about dissension. ... I don't want to sound like a Koester enthusiast, because I had my reservations at the time. However, let's be honest: The guy was a real coach with real coaching connections. To make a long story short, Koester was fired. The booster congress wins its lobbying and a new-ish coach is hired: Randy Hill. Nothing against him as a person, because everyone who knows him knows he is a great guy (and wrestling coach). However, in football, he couldn't coach his way out of a wet paper bag. But because the booster congress had whined so much for his hiring, they were suppressed for a few years.
Well, Hill couldn't ride his option offense very long before it lost its luster with defenses, and Lakeside had terrible seasons again. Here come the lobbyists.
So Hill steps aside and we have Jody Grooms. ... His weakness is rubbing elbows with his players. I guess building friendships with kids instead of a football team is a better agenda. I guess teaching your new kid-friends to cheat is also a good idea. The illegal play, obviously planned by Grooms, absolutely discredits his ethics and integrity. On top of that, the Panthers are 3-7.
So he runs an illegal play, teaches teenagers to cheat, and is a loser. These are all facts. However, like the song says, Principal Jeff Carney is "standing by his man." Wow:A promising coach gets the boot because he adjusts the lineup, but a cheating one gets backing. Does any of this make sense?
Now you have kids showing up at booster congress meetings defending a coach because he is their friend, and actually defending him cheating. He has them fooled into thinking it was OK. ... It is obvious that neither the boosters nor the principal can make a decision on a coach for LHS. For the players' sake I hope a hunt for a proven, honest winner is underway. I guess when you are at your lowest point the only place to go is up. That is where Panther football is. This team needs discipline, a coach and a lack of interference from tennis-playing parents. I pray for the Panthers and you should, too.
Bill Brasky, Evans
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