Unheralded seniors help key success for 'Lander squad

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   The STAR has focused all season on promoting the efforts of high school seniors who achieve on the field of play. This season the Cloudland Highlanders have fielded a crop of talent that has quietly made them a serious playoff contender.
   Big names aside, this article shall focus on the unsung heroes of the gridiron, and try to shed light on the utility men that help make the 'Landers a tough team to beat.
   As always most of those heroes who go unnoticed play on the offensive and defensive lines, and among this group of seniors three contributors have yet to receive proper recognition.
   Jeremy Ward, Jason Grant and Dustin DeYoung do battle in the trenches and despite being a big part of the 'Lander game plan, these young men have not received the brunt of media attention.
   The offensive and defensive line play has long been a stalwart of Cloudland football prowess, these gentleman are dedicated to carrying the torch onward, and they do so with their own special flare.
   All feel as if they have a role to fill within the Cloudland scheme, and leadership has been key to this group of pending graduates.
   "We've all stepped it up this season," Grant said. "On both sides of the ball we've tried to show leadership."
   Ward feel as if his contributions to the team are two fold as well. "I have worked on my pass rush," Ward said. "I also have worked on my traps."
   Along with his fellow cohorts Dustin DeYoung feels that his effort has been on the practice field.
   "I have just tried to practice hard," DeYoung said.
   Head coach Mike Lunsford holds these young men in high regard, according to Lunsford they represent what 'Lander football is all about, "These type of kids make the difference between being a good and a great football team," Lunsford said.
   "They might not be superstars but they are role players, and they help us do what it takes to win."
   Utility man Cole Gouge has also went relatively silent this year despite stints at quarterback, receiver and defensive back. The rangy senior has fond memories of last year's playoff run and has high expectations for this year.
   "It was an experience playing in the state championship game last year," Gouge said. "But I hope to go back this year too.'
   That is a sentiment that most Cloudland fans would share, and with continued dedication from these 'Lander seniors, perhaps Murfreesboro is not to far down the road.