Analysis: Three standout Spartans put Lakewood in good position for playoffs

Seniors Amari Niblack and Terrell Crosby and junior Anthony Colandrea have led the football team to a 7-0 record.



Senior Diezel Spann holds off an East Lake player while trying to run the ball at Lakewood High School’s homecoming game on Oct. 11. The Spartans were victorious, 36:6


The Lakewood Spartans are currently undefeated in seven games. This is no surprise for Spartan fans as Lakewood has been undefeated in the regular season for years, but the heroics of a few players are the real reason for the victorious season.

Senior wide receiver Amari Niblack, senior wide receiver and safety Terrell Crosby and junior quarterback Anthony Colandrea work in a manner that can only be called awe-inspiring. They make plays that any normal high school would die for.

“I think they did a great job; they, as well as all the players, have been working hard together and showing great leadership,” coach Cory Moore said.

Niblack, who has committed to the University of Alabama, cannot be brought down. The only reason he will stop running is if he is forced out of bounds by more than eight defenders. His 6-foot-5 demeanor is enough to make many grown men run. His strategy is to run into the thick of it, and he usually comes out the other end victorious, laughing at all the people he just wasted on the way.

“I feel excited. It’s the first time in three years I’ve put up this many touchdowns and this many yards on offense,” he said.

Crosby, who just decommitted from a small college to commit, is so different with his skill set, but with the same result. He is second in touchdowns – only beat by Niblack – on the team for offense without even considering his defensive points. Defenders cannot bring him down because bringing down requires touching, and no one can seem to outmaneuver Crosby to come within two feet of him. His speed and agility is inhuman and the way his mind sees where the football will end up is genius.

“I just do what’s best for the team. I’m a team player,” he said. “The coaches and staff are doing great. We just got to come in and do our job.”

Another stand-out player for the Spartans is junior quarterback Anthony Colandrea, who has gotten an offer from Kentucky. His ability to see where his wide receivers will be 10 yards before they get there is amazing. He is able to know where the defense will cover, and he is also able to trust the planed routes for his receivers, which is also a great tool. A quarterback with trust is better than any quarterback.

This is also in part because of the whole offense. Each receiver knows exactly what route to run every play, which helps a quarter back run his offense smoothly.

“It’s great to be on a great team with a great coaching staff and we are improving every day at practice. Our goal is to win a state championship,” he said.

Another bright spot for the Spartans football team is the coaching. The offensive coordinator, Tarus Horne, is able to design simple enough plays for high school yet complex enough to baffle defenses for four quarters.

The Lakewood Spartans are a big contender for this year’s playoffs if they just stay focused and play their game. If the defense steps up against the run game like they did against East Lake, the passing defense from Gibbs, and the big three players keep playing how they do, the Spartans will be hard to beat.

The next football game is Friday against Hardee High School from Wauchula. The home game starts at 7 p.m.