McQueen Lancers Season Preview
The high school football season begins in less than two weeks, with that being said we are previewing over twenty teams from our local area. Today's team: McQueen.
2022 record: 3-7 overall, 2-4 league
Head coach: Matt Marner, second season at McQueen (3-7 overall, 2-4 league in one season at McQueen)
A year after being crowned The 'Kings of The Northern 5A' The Lancers and Coach Marner struggled through a tough season last year, that saw the team deal with a ton of bad breaks and injuries from the onset of the season opener throughout the entire season. A tough early season schedule and long road trips did the Lancers no favors. Well Lancers fans, it's time to turn the page...
The good news for the Lancers is this, they will travel a total of 77.8 miles round trip for their "road" games this season, with a trip to Damonte Ranch being their longest road trip all season. They start the season with four straight home games. When I spoke with Coach Marner he said that the keys to his squad's success this season will hinge on "cohesiveness [as a group], staying healthy, and sticking to the gameplan through any adversity that comes our way." He doubled down on the idea of togetherness stating that the strength of his team is "how much they care about each other."
Home field advantage is definitely something the players talk about quite a bit at McQueen. Marner said he's excited to be at home more this season stating it's "great to be up on 'The Hill'" and he says teams coming to play them from out of town often suffer from a lack of oxygen due to the change in elevation. Marner said "[it's] noticeable, and a hell of a change for them." The Lancers will look to take advantage of their opponents by keeping up the pace offensively in the Non-League season.
Offensively the Lancers will be breaking in a new starting quarterback for the fourth straight season. Tell me if you've heard this before... McQueen will most likely start an athletic lefty converting from wide receiver in the season opener. Last time they did this they won a Regional Championship, so they have good vibes heading into their game against Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) on August 18th. The Lancers will continue to employ the "run-pass option" offensively, as they welcome back three starters and "it's the best chance [to win football games] for our guys." Marner also spoke glowingly about his defense and said, "we don't overlook anybody." The Lancers return six defensive starters from last year's squad. Marner also spoke of his players "FBI," short for Football Intelligence and said they must be alert at all times.
Athlete Tre LaGrone, Senior: In three years on varsity LaGrone has been listed at many positions including: WR/DB/RS and now it looks like LaGrone will be converting from WR to QB for the Lancers this season. He is a 'Next-Level Athlete' and will be able to display his athleticism at the controls of the offense this year. He is coming off a spring and summer that saw him get bigger, faster and stronger. Marner reiterated "Tre is one of the best players in the North, and he has the highest ceiling of anyone on our roster." High praise for a kid whose biggest accomplishments may still be to come.
RB/DE Sam Duran, Senior: Duran is pound-for-pound one of the strongest athletes in all of northern Nevada despite being only 5-foot-8 Marner said he has a "40-inch vertical leap and can dunk a basketball." Duran begins the season as the Lancers starting RB and Marner was quick to point out that he believes Sam is "a college player if healthy."
Strength in the Trenches:
The following four players will be vital to the success that McQueen has this season. Below is a quick bit of info on each one of them.
DT Carson Lofstedt, Senior: The Lancers defensive line will be their strength and Lofstedt will anchor the line in the middle. He can eat up blocks and cause havoc in opposing backfields.
DE Daelin Moss, Senior: Moss has become a vocal leader, where he accomplished a lot of work in the offseason. Coach Marner said "He's physical and has taken a big step forward."
OG/DT Justin Rickett, Senior: A starter on McQueen's Regional Championship team two years ago, Rickett has struggled with injuries, but I believe that this is the year he re-emerges and dominates. He has a nastiness to his game that reminds me of Mike Iupati when he was at Idaho.
RT/DE Trey Smith, Junior: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds Smith is a load and has good balance. He wrestles at The National Level. Coach Marner described him as "a man-child."
Don't be surprised by...
DB Anthony Mead, Senior: Mead returns for the Lancers this season and Marner was very complimentary of him stating that Mead "Leads by example."
WR/DB Gary Forde, Senior: Forde is another Senior that was highlighted by Marner as "someone who can see that the time and effort in the offseason are paying off."
Aug. 18 vs. Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
Aug. 25 vs. Rocklin (Calif.)
Sep. 1 vs. Sutter (Calif.)
Sep. 8 vs. Carson
Sep. 15 at Hug
Sep. 22 at Reed
Sep. 29 vs. Bishop Manogue
Oct. 6 at Damonte Ranch
Oct. 13 vs. Spanish Springs
Oct. 20 at Reno
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc.