Three weeks ago Lawrence County had hit rock bottom, walking off the field at West Point after a 42-14 defeat trying to figure out where it had went wrong.
It wasn’t suppose to be this way. The Devils came into the year with high expectations of competing with the top teams in their region. Instead, they were 1-2 and fresh off an embarrassing four touchdown defeat to a team many felt they were clearly better than.
“It was a slap in the face,” said Lawrence County head coach Rich Dutton.”
That’s a sentiment that Dutton’s players echo as well.
“At West Point we just walked on the field like it was going to just be an automatic win,” said senior linebacker Colton Johnson. “We didn’t prepare like we should and we didn’t practice like we should. We got outcoached and outplayed.”
Fast forward three weeks and the Devils are sitting right where they thought they’d be, right in the thick of the region race as they host No. 5 Russellville this Friday.
So how did they go from region contender in preseason to rock bottom in week three and back to region contender in week six.
“It was a wake up call. We overlooked West Point and it showed,” said senior Brody Franks. “After that it was a completely different mindset. As soon as we lost that game, all the seniors just said ‘alright we have to pick it up, this isn’t going to be like last year.”
Things got better in week four, a 37-14 win over Dora, but last week they were right back facing another hill, this time 6A Decatur, a team they hadn’t beaten since 1954.
They responded. Going into Ogle Stadium and coming out with their first win over the Red Raiders since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States.
It was easily one of the biggest wins this program has experienced in a long time.
“It’s a special feeling,” said Dutton. “You want these players and this community that has given so much to Lawrence County High School to be able to experience something like last Friday night. It felt like a reward for everybody that’s put in hard work for this program.”
The Devils also discovered their true identity in the win. The attitude of we’re the better team they had in the first three weeks was something that wasn't suited for them. Rather, they found comfort in embracing the underdog role.
“I think that’s who we are,” said Colton Johnson. “Nobody gave us a chance against Decatur, nobody believed in us. But we were able to prove everyone wrong.”
“I feel like Lawrence County has always been the underdog, I don’t really know what it’s like to not be,” said Brody Franks. “It has an effect. When your county is behind you but nobody else is, it motivates you to go out and prove everybody wrong, prove why they should respect you.”