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33 Teams in 33 Days: Blount Leopards

EIGHT MILE, Ala. (WKRG) — High school football programs along the Gulf Coast are honing their skills in spring practice. WRKG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” continues touring local practice sessions with a look at Blount High School.

The Leopards are looking to bounce back after going 2-8 last season. Continuity is a key theme as head coach Ramon Nelson returns for his second season at the helm. Blount ended the year on a positive note with a 26-6 victory at Murphy in the season finale. They hope to use that win as a springboard going into the 2024 season. Nelson says there has been a noticeable change between last spring and this offseason.

“It’s a big difference,” Nelson said. “This time last year I was just getting on campus and really trying to get to know the personnel and bond as coaches. Now we’ve had an offseason together and team building. The install has been in, so the terminology is recycled for these kids and it has been a big deal. I’m the fourth head coach in five years, so there has been a complete turnover every spring and they have had to learn a new lingo, but to come out in spring on day one and hear something you heard last year is a big advantage for us going into next season.”

The players have also embraced the message of what it takes to turn things around this fall. The Leopards have several key playmakers back on the field this year. They are eager to build on last year and take the program to a new level.

“I’ve seen good effort,” said defensive end Chase Howard. “Everybody is willing to work and everybody has the same mindset. We are all dedicated and ready to get at it. The mindset is building the culture. We’re trying to build a program, so that’s the mindset.”

“The leaders have to step up and do our jobs,” defensive back Lazeric Johnson added. “We know how the program has been going the last couple of years, so we are trying to lead them down a different path and lead these freshmen.”

The Leopards return 10 of 11 starters on defense with a host of impact players on offense back in the mix. Nelson praised their efforts on and off the field.

“Our leaders (senior class) have been commanding in the weight room it has been a complete turnaround from last year,” Nelson added. “I was searching for somebody to kind of step up and lead, but this year they’ve really separate themselves on who want to be leaders. They stand out and they’ve done a tremendous job thus far leading our our team.”

2023 Record (notable wins):

  • 2-8

  • Robertsdale 28-7

  • Murphy 26-6

Key Players:

  • DB/OLB: Lazeric Johnson – 90 tackles, 10 TFLs, 4 sacks, 1 int,1 FF

  • DE: Chase Howard – 60 tackles, 7 TFLs, 6 sacks

  • RB/LB: Todrick Withers – 600 Rush Yards, 7 touchdowns

  • WR: Terrance Miller – 700+ all-purpose yards

Key Matchups:

  • vs. Vigor (8/23)

  • vs. Murphy (9/26)

  • @ McGill-Toolen (10/11)

Who’s next:

The next installment will feature the Chickasaw Chieftains. Follow along with WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days.” Each team will be featured during the 6:30 p.m. newscast on the weekdays and during the 10 p.m. newscast on the weekend.

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