Bayside Admirals hope to extend playoff streak

Tony Whitehead,
Posted 8/26/13

DAPHNE, Ala. - The Bayside Admirals will open their 2013 season on the road Aug. 30 at 5A powerhouse Charles Henderson and head coach Phil Lazenby said the schedule doesn’t get any easier after that.

The Admirals 3A Region 1 lineup is well …

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Bayside Admirals hope to extend playoff streak


DAPHNE, Ala. - The Bayside Admirals will open their 2013 season on the road Aug. 30 at 5A powerhouse Charles Henderson and head coach Phil Lazenby said the schedule doesn’t get any easier after that.

The Admirals 3A Region 1 lineup is well stocked with contenders for the region crown.

Bayside Academy’s fundamental formations and sets will look the same as the past which have taken the Admirals to five-straight playoff appearances, an undefeated season and a Region title under Lazenby’s tutelage.

“We won’t tinker with too much. But we have lost some good players," Lazenby said of the spring graduation toll which included the program’s first Division I football signee Jonathan Walton, who chose South Carolina where he will play linebacker.

Walton played both ways at Bayside as many if not most varsity players do. But not having the 225-pound multi-threat rusher/receiver and LB on either side may affect the Admirals game plans to some extent. But not from a tactical point of view as Lazenby said. They also lost Bayside’s all-time rushing record holder Joe Stassen to matriculation. Stassen gained over 1,000 yards as a junior and again as a senior and also was a leading tackler in the secondary.

“We have some new faces, but our plan of attack and defense is basically the same,” Lazenby said. “We’ll still do the same stuff, but with different people in some spots. But we are a running football team. We have to be able to do that consistently, then take advantage of any passing opportunities we can. We are going to run the football.”

Some key players returning for the Admirals include starters Hunter Slater at quarterback, an experienced running back/receiver corps in Tripp Puckett III, Zack Dyass, Landon Lasseter, Greg Wallace and Ivy-League recruit tight end Garris Goe. Some other key role players will include Andy Citrin, William Fleming and Spencer Rosenbaum. Up front the interior line will be lead by center Will Speir and sophomores Jack Heaby and Austin Chastain.

Lazenby added that defense has to rise to meet the challenge of a tough schedule and preparing for the season will mean setting the best possible defense in time for region play.

“I believe we’ll be ahead of the (learning) curve on our offense since we have pretty much ingrained our system on most of our players as they come up and we have several returning. But on defense this year, it’s basically the same but with different people.

“So right now I’m trying to get as many people into the game as I can, evaluate, make decisions and hope we find who and what works. And that means putting the best defense we can come up with on the field with as many different people as possible, especially early on, because heat and fatigue are factors that take a toll. I don’t care how good the conditioning level is, you can watch film of those early games and even later in the fall and see kids dragging. We hope to avoid that, but keep our overall drive-stopping quality high.”

He also said that special teams are always important. “You can never overestimate the kicking game. Some of the biggest plays in a game are a blocked punt or a long punt or kick-off return. An onside kick, a fumble. It’s a good phase of the game to make things happen, take advantage if and as often as you can. So we work and work on it all year.”

The Trojans are coached by former Fairhope player and coach Mike Dean who also coached at McGill-Toolen Catholic. The Admirals will also have some Pirate swagger onboard this year as former Fairhope head coach Mark Lasseter joins the Bayside coaching staff.

The Trojans edged Bayside on their Daphne campus last year and the Admirals are eager for a payback visit to Troy, Lazenby said. “They are excited and even though it’s not a region game, they know it’s a big game for us and (CHHS) will give us a good read on where we are as a football team. Charles Henderson always has talent and always has good depth. We have very good talent, but we don’t go very deep and that comes with the territory of being a small school. But these guys are scrappy and have a lot of heart. They will play to win, but no matter what, we will use that experience to get ready for the region games ahead. So, yes, it’s a tough opener, but a good test as well as good preparation.”

Bayside will open their 3A Region 1 schedule Sept. 6 hosting Excel High at 7 p.m. The Admirals will play up in all three of their non-region contests playing against perennial 4A powerhouse UMS-Wright Sept. 27 in Mobile and hosting 5A Satsuma Nov. 1.