Kathleen to Play Man In Effort to Stop Lake Region's Big Receiver Andre Palmer
Wed. August 29, 2012 at 10:57 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
Lake Region's Andre Palmer has all the tools to be a top receiver. (Photo by MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER)
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Kathleen says it will man-up Lake Region's best receiver when the two teams meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Johnnie Johnson Stadium
But will that be enough to stop Andre Palmer, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior who caught three touchdown passes in the team's preseason opener last week?
"It will take more than one person," Lake Region quarterback LT Thompson said. "I hope they man-up, because if they do, it will be deadly."
In other words, it will bode well for Lake Region, not so well for Kathleen.
Palmer has often been bracketed and double-teamed because he has breakout speed and can make big plays. Lake Wales did it to him in the spring game and he still caught four passes for 93 yards.
"He's a good receiver, no doubt about it, but Greg (Abrams) is going to be on him man to man," Strickland said. "It's on him to perform well. We might throw a different coverage to confuse the quarterback but I'm going to put my best DB on (Palmer)."
The key is to be physical with Palmer off the line of scrimmage, Strickland said, and to be persistent and stay on him as the play develops.
Lake Region coach Steve Reynolds thinks that won't cut it.
"Good luck if they do try that," Reynolds said. "I think it's going to take two to cover him, quite frankly. Their kids are athletic, and they have that good defensive back (in Abrams), which will cause Andre to work a little harder but I think they're going to have to bracket him still. If they do, we still have other guys who can step in and do well."
On the flip side, Lake Region's defense will have a similar agenda. Kathleen has a speedy receiver of its own in Ja'Von Harrison, a junior who has already committed to play football for Virginia Tech.
Kathleen also runs a spread offense and often goes with five wide outs, with senior A'Treyu Farrior handling the show at the quarterback spot.
To try and slow them down, Reynolds will ask some of his skill players on offense to play both ways, a first for him in a long time.
Thompson and Palmer will get snaps in the secondary because Lake Region doesn't have much depth at those spots besides set starters Blade Denmark and James Jackson.
It showed in last week's preseason game against Auburndale.
The team gave up two big pass plays, including an 86-yard touchdown and a 59-yard pass that resulted in a score. Reynolds shifted things quickly after that loss.
"Sometimes you have to do what you have to do," Reynolds said.
"It makes me nervous because we don't have a lot of depth but you have to put your athletes on the field."
[Solange Reyner may be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7526]