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State Champion Lake Wales Highlanders Eye Start of New Season

Important District Season Opens August 25

A new school year means many things: getting used to new schedules, making new friends, and for fans of the defending state championship Lake Wales Highlanders, a new season of football.

For players the 2023 football season provides an exciting new opportunity and a fresh start.

Players Grady Turner, a defensive lineman and linebacker, wide receiver Carldayle "CJ" Brantley, along with athletic trainer head manager Abagail Ruble spoke with Lake Wales on what they believe the new season will look like and what they have been training for.

Turner said that this year they need to work on building a strong team to earn a return to the playoffs.

Both Brantley and Ruble backed Turner with their own opinions on the teambuilding skills acquired in the practices.

"I expect hard times, but that's what every team goes through to become family and get to the position they have been working for," Ruble said.

To accomplish their goal, the team has been practicing four days a week. The varsity squad opens their season with a non-district game against Treasure Coast today. They will open the regular season with a game in Zephyrhills next Friday, August 25.

The junior varsity opens their season on Thursday, August 31 by hosting the Lakeland Dreadnaughts.

Ruble is an athletic trainer in her Junior year. She is one of eight trainers whose jobs are to "fill water, tape, ice, and to aid the players and coaches," she explained. While admitting the job is hard, it is a passion of hers and other girls on the trainers' team as it comes with "family, new knowledge, new friends, and a whole world of new perspectives," she said.

Brantley explains that one goal of training is to "buff up" the players. Making the players bigger and stronger will help give and receive hits better overall, he said.

Zephyrhills is the team players are currently focused on, but looking ahead, important district games against Sebring, Bartow, and Lake Gibson are also in the back of players' minds.

Lake Wales plans deep coverage of Highlander athletics this season and will provide an inside view of what the players, coaches, and managers bring to the table.

Author Bio

Rachel Negrete, News Correspondent

Author photo

Rachel Negrete is a Lake Wales High School Junior who has strong writing skills and hopes to create a career as a writer and author. Working for Lake Wales is helping her develop skills and reach her goals.


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