Vols: Determined to find a way

Lee Williams has shaken off last year’s disappointing campaign

Lee Williams’s offensive line getting their work in during Friday’s practice at Lee Williams High School.

SHAWN BYRNE/Miner

Lee Williams’s offensive line getting their work in during Friday’s practice at Lee Williams High School.

KINGMAN – It was supposed to be the kind of season that would be spoken of for years to come. That’s not how 2015 played out for the Lee Williams High School Volunteers, but nothing around the practice field this week made one think of that season. The Vols are getting ready for 2016, and that’s the only thing that matters.

Lee finished last season 2-8 and had to endure turmoil in the coaching ranks. That’s behind them, and no better example for the Vols is newcomer Austin Parente. He’s a senior who didn’t play the past two years and has stepped up in a leadership role. He’s penciled in at starting offensive tackle.

Parente said his friends convinced him to come out for football in his final year of high school, and now he’s wishing he had played the two seasons he missed. He senses the Vols are gelling.

“Everybody is working hard and having fun,” Parente said. “We get excited and hyped in the locker room before practice. We’re encouraging each other.”

Lee Williams first-year coach Jacob Iodence wants his team to get things done. Whether it’s at home, in the classroom, or on the football field, he’s teaching the young men in his charge to finish their tasks.

“Find a way, and that goes for all aspects,” the coach said. “Find a way to get your homework done, find a way to make that tackle, find a way to make that block. By the end of the year, it’s going to be we found our way. And next year, it’s going to be we’re on our way.”

Iodence is encouraged by the willingness his players have shown him. A lot of players don’t realize practice is playing football, but the Vols want to be out there.

“It’s not like a chore,” said senior running back Andrew Davis. “It’s hard work, the hardest I’ve done playing high school ball here. But we want to get better. The coaches can only do so much, and we’re coming together.”

Two years ago Davis was on the Miner’s All-City football team, but last season he had an issue with concussions and didn’t get on the field. Iodence said Davis has hit the weights, and Davis reports he has a clean bill of health now.

Expect Davis and junior Paul Giglio to lead the rushing attack for the Vols. Davis likes the direction the running backs, and more importantly the team, are going.

“As a group, and as a team, we’re progressing together,” Davis said. “We’re getting a lot better, and the running backs, we’ve put in a lot of work and our legs are getting stronger.”

The first week of practice concluded with the Vols taking care of what Iodence wanted them get done on the road toward the season opener at Kingman on Aug. 26.

“We’re getting in shape and getting the fundamentals down,” the coach said. “That was the mission for Week 1 – to be a good, sound fundamental football team. Guys are getting better and the biggest thing is that the guys want to get better.”