‘Be Accountable’


LaFayette Football Looks to Make the Next Step




LaFayette head football coach Juan Williams is looking for consistency from his players this year.

“A lot of them know what we do,” Williams said of his student-athletes. “The thing is, we are having different parts coming in, so we talk about consistency –– playing your position, doing your part.”

Williams has led the Bulldogs to a 5-5 and 7-4 record in his first two years, respectively. Last year, Valley lost, 48-20, in the first round of the playoffs to Ariton High School.

This year, Williams and company are looking to take the next leap to push further toward the goal of postseason excellence.

“We are trying to continue to protect the brand,” he said. “These guys who are with me now are a part of that process. The next step is –– we have been put out two years in a row in the first round, our kids know that, that’s the hurdle –– we need to push past the first round.”

The Bulldogs had their region changed due to AHSAA reclassification this year, and the new schedule presents a different challenge for the team.

“This year our region changed,” Williams said. “It’s a little more football heavy in my eyes. We are ready for the challenge.”

2A Region 3 now includes Reeltown, Lanett, LaFayette, Horseshoe Bend, Goshen, Barbour County, Highland Home and Luverne.

“We got a really good region,” Williams said. “That’s good and bad. But we are no slobs, so we are going to compete.”

Part of Williams’s success during his tenure at LaFayette can be attributed to the standard of excellence that Williams and his staff set for the players — on and off the field.

“The thing about our kids now, they know what we expect,” he said. “They expect to grind every day. What we are trying to teach our kids is to have fun and seize the day. We don’t forget the little things. We are not trying to teach players; we are teaching people. That is what we are going to hang our hat on –– to be respectful young adults in this society.”

Despite losing three all-state caliber players from last year’s roster, LaFayette’s attention to details has rallied the team to build on the precedent set before them.

“Keep working,” Williams said was the key to success right now. “The guys who have left here have set a precedent of what we are doing. The work has to continue. The thing is, you can control what is next. That is the consistency that we have to have, being accountable. Right now they are holding each other accountable. That’s in and out of football. I’m a believer of the little things. I think that carries over.”

In terms of how the roster is shaping out, Williams said the biggest, current question mark is at the receiver and running back positions.

“Those two skill positions, the receivers and running backs, are key to us to right now,” he said.

Over the next two weeks, the team will work tirelessly to solidify those question areas in the hope the can make waves in the AHSAA Class 2A.

“My team, we love to compete,” said one player. “We are working, and I feel like we are going to be a really good team this year.”

LaFayette opens its season Aug. 20 against Loachapoka on a neutral site. The Bulldogs are 12-8 all-time against Loachapoka, with the Bulldogs winning the most recent meeting, 26-6, in 2017.


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