LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Vinton Lions haven’t seen a winning season since 2014. Despite a 4-7 record last year, the Lions still made the playoffs for the sixth year straight. It’s the foundation that Vinton coach Tarius Davis is hoping to build upon.
“That’s something that is on our radar, we want to make it seven years in a row making it into the playoffs," Davis said. "But we want to find a way to advance this year and that’s kind of our theme this year is finding a way.”
Offensively, the Lions are mixing things up schematically. Vinton will move to a spread offense as quarterback Drew Heinen steps into his second year as QB1 after his nearly 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago.
Joining Heinen in the backfield is thousand-yard rusher Jordan Janice, as well Hezakiah Holts, who returns for his junior season after being in Georgia last year. Coach Davis is excited to see what the duo can do.
“We feel like we have two solid running backs. We want to spread it out. We still want to focus on running the football,” admitted Davis. "But we feel like we have a 1 and a 1A we don’t feel like we have two. We feel like we have two starters in the backfield.”
The Lions main weapon on offense this season will remain first-team all-district wide receiver, Jaden Carrier. The junior totaled 12 touchdowns as a receiver, returner and defensive back.
“I mean any time you get a kid with the athleticism that Jaden Carrier has, it’s always a plus," Davis said. "We feel like he’s a guy that most teams we line up against, if they give him single coverage, we feel like plays will be made.”
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The Lions are returning seven starters defensively and will be based out of a four-man front, running a 4-2-5. The primary job for this defense will be stopping the run. Plenty will be on senior linebacker Austin Benoit’s plate after he finished 2018 with nearly 80 tackles.
“Austin Beniot, as linebacker, is one of the best defensive players we have,” Carrier admitted.
“It’s so beneficial to have Austin and our whole D-line together," said Vinton defensive lineman Adam Beard. "We work so well together because he can get his reads and once he gets his reads, he’s gone. He’s not going to hesitate.”
Defensive lineman Adam Beard is also back for his senior season, he’s the one will be looked upon to be the leader of this defense.
“Adam is the type of kid who’s always here and always on time. You’re always going to get 110 percent from him," said Davis. "He brings that out on the football field as well.”
After five seasons of being under .500, Vinton is aiming to get back to its winning ways.
“I’m just tired of being mediocre," said Vinton quarterback Drew Heinen. "I just want to leave my mark on this school and put Vinton back on the map.”