By Matt Turer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Camdenton is heading into 2017 with one of the region’s best offensive lines and one of the best running backs around.
Seniors Grant Norton (6’8”, 265 lbs.) and Josh Semau (6’6”, 350 lbs.) head up a powerful front. By the end of July, Norton had already committed to the University of Minnesota while Semau had received two offers and taken official visits to an ACC and SEC school. Chazz Sawyers (6’3”, 260 lbs.), Harrison Brownell (6’1”, 295 lbs.) and Connor Whitney (6’2”, 225 lbs.) will also be throwing around their weight. Together, they average 279 pounds.
With that much talent up front and Jay Griffin back carrying the football, Camdenton will again have one of the stronger running games in the area. Griffin ran for 1,378 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and has started to take FBS visits of his own this summer, with likely offers coming from Air Force, Navy and Army. Griffin doubles as a very good pass catcher.
“I’ll be able to be a little more patient coming into this year,” Griffin said. “Waiting for them to get their blocks and open up the holes. I can use my speed.”
With patience come trust, and Griffin has that in his hogs.
“If I’m going to run a power right, I’ll be able to trust that that hole will open up instead of having to make that decision to bounce outside and cut back in. I can trust it’ll be there.”
Norton is moving to tight end almost exclusively this season after playing tackle most of his varsity career. He runs the 40 in somewhere between 4.60 and 4.80 seconds, making the tight-end position ideal for his height and size, especially at the high-school level. Camdenton will often run a two tight-end set whether running or throwing the football.
“We’re not going to be overconfident this season,” Jeff Shore said. “We have nothing to be overconfident about. The  season didn’t end how we wanted, but the kids have worked hard. They’re hungry. I think our team unity is fantastic, so we’re just trying to do it one day at a time, as they say, and get better and better.”
Camdenton doubled its three-win output in 2015 with a 6-4 record in 2016. The Lakers fell 29-28 to West Plains in a district quarterfinal heartbreaker but have loftier goals for 2017.
“We’re aiming for a state title,” Semau said. “We have the team. We have the size. We have the skill. Our offensive line is huge, so that gives us a tool to run the ball and play old-fashioned Camdenton Laker football.”
Dyllan Decker is gone from his quarterback/wideout spots, but Isaiah Lumley (who split time at quarterback with Decker last year), is back.
The Lakers bring speed to the table as well with Jake Hill (WR/SS) coming back. Hill ran the fifth-fastest 100-meter time in the area last spring and is also getting Div. 1 looks.
Two-time all-conference linebacker Todd Simpson is a fantastic athlete and another key returner. Simpson also plays fullback and ran a 4.48 40 this summer at an Iowa State camp at Lindenwood.
“We’ve struggled the past couple years but now we’ve got all seniors. Everyone is big and ready to play,” Griffin said.
“We’re ready to get the job done.”