By Chris Parker
Expectations remain high for Lebanon with five offensive and seven defensive starters returning from last year’s team that won a second consecutive district championship and finished 9-3 overall.
“Coming off back to back District Championships our program will continue to have high expectations,” Lebanon coach Will Christian said. “We have a solid senior class with good experience and past success. We have underclassmen who have had success coming up and are ready to have their chance. The key as always will be how hard we work this summer and how hungry we are to do more.”
Lebanon graduated two all-state players in Malik Culp and Jayden Ivey from last season’s team.
The returning players are led by senior outside linebacker Trevor Christian. Christian, who is 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, was a First-Team All-Ozark Conference selection at linebacker last year. He had 53 total tackles and 5.5 sacks.
He is joined at linebacker by classmate Tyler Paul. Paul started every game last year, and earned second-team all-conference honors. He had 45 total tackles and led Lebanon with seven sacks.
The line will be anchored by senior defensive ends Jordan Lewis and Landon Smith. Lewis was a second-team all-conference selection while Smith earned honorable mention honors. Both started all 12 games as juniors.
The secondary will be experienced with the senior trio of Kale Keagy, Kaelen O’Conner and Curtis Mobley returning. Keagy and O’Connor each started all 12 games last year while Mobley started eight.
The offensive side of the ball will be led by senior running back Quameire Wright. Wright, who is 5-foot-9, 220 pounds, led the Yellowjackets with 1,217 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns last year. He earned second-team all-conference honors.
Cole Godwin (5’9, 265 pounds) and Mason DeVasure (6’2, 255 pounds) will open up holes for Wright on the line after each started 12 games last season as juniors. Godwin was a second-team all-conference selection. Classmate Kolby Dorris (6’3, 195 pounds) will also help with the blocking as a tight end.
Tanner Roy returns for his senior season at wide receiver after leading Lebanon in receiving yards last year with 15 catches for 349 yards and eight touchdowns.
Christian has a host of newcomers to watch for that include: Seniors Jonathon Wehner (DL), Kalub Ellingson (NT), Hunter Hughes (OL) and Jordan Bohannon (ILB) along with juniors Drew McBride (ILB),
Isaac Ledbetter (RB), Walker McDermott (DB), Shane Ashlock (DB), Jake Henson (TE), Antonio Rogers (RB), Hunter Honey (OLB), Cordell Zebel (SS), Zach Cheever (DB), Donavan Little (ILB), Garrett Childers (OL), Dalton Wagner (NT), Presley Cottongim (NT), Hunter Henry (OL) and Kael Ruble (OL).
Lebanon will travel to Branson on Aug. 23 for a jamboree with the host Pirates, Aurora and Reeds Spring.
The Yellowjackets will open the season on Aug. 30 at Kickapoo.