Lions hoping to make big improvements from last year
It was a season of uncertainty for Ascension Christian in 2020.
The Lions had to replace one of the best quarterbacks in program history, as well as break in many new starters. And they had to do it all in a shortened offseason due to the pandemic.
But this season, there has been much more consistency and stability for Ascension Christian. The Lions are hoping that this will lead to a big turnaround in 2021. The Lions are seeking their first winning season in four years.
Ascension Christian was dealt a huge blow during their last offseason as senior starting quarterback Zach Diez sustained a back injury that ended his year before it even began.
It turned out to be a sign of the struggles that would come for the Lions as they fought through a tough 2020 season.
Ascension Christian won its opener against Fisher, but the Lions then closed out 2020 with six straight losses
Ascension Christian will return 10 starters from that team—five on offense and five on defense.
Some of the starters lost were significant performers from last year’s squad.
The Lions lost four all-district players, which included Nick Davis. Davis was one of District 7-1A’s best pass rushers for the past two seasons.
Ascension Christian also lost running back and linebacker Brady Gueho and linemen Collin Pederson and Chris Moore.
But despite those losses on the line, head coach Josh Puryear said that his team should be stout in the trenches this upcoming season.
“I think we have a chance to be solid on the offensive line,” Puryear said. “We have key guys like Brock Stafford, Daniel Pyle and Luke Gautreau playing there, so I’m confident in the things that we can do upfront. I also like the way our older guys have been working this offseason, reaching out and showing our younger guys how things should be done.”
Brock Stafford is a junior who Puryear has high hopes for in 2021.
He said that Stafford broke his leg last season and didn’t get back to 100 percent until the Lions’ final regular-season game. Now that he’s back, Puryear thinks he’ll have a tremendous year.
Also returning for Ascension Christian is quarterback Ethan Cormier. Cormier now has a year of starting experience under his belt, after having to take over for the injured Diez in 2020.
He’ll have two key weapons returning for him offensively in junior running back Adin Carter and senior wide receiver Emory Templet. Coach Puryear said that he also expects freshman running back and linebacker Wyatt Stafford to have a breakout season.
Another returning leader for Ascension Christian will be senior fullback and linebacker Brayden Tregre.
Coach Puryear said that his team is holding itself to a high standard this season. They’re looking to make big strides from last year.
“We have a lot to prove this year, and we’re hoping to take this season week by week,” Puryear said. “We have some goals that we have set for ourselves this year that we believe we can achieve. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and toughness, especially because a lot of our guys will be going both ways. We’re hoping to stay injury free this year.”