40 in 30: West Lauderdale Knights

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COLLINSVILLE, Miss. -- The team looks different with new faces at certain key positions, but the goals for preseason workouts remain the same for coach Brock Clay and West Lauderdale.

"It's about dedication and work ethic" Clay said. "We strive to have a great football team, obviously, but it's bigger than that. We want to prepare our kids for the next level. The next level in life, whether its athletics or whatever."

"We're just trying to focus on being more physical" said senior offensive lineman Kaleb Walters. "We have to make sure we work hard, especially in the weight room."

After a long stretch as an assistant coach in Collinsville, Clay earned the full-time job after the departure of Stan McCain following the 2016 season. The Knights started the year 0-3, but turned things around and won seven of their last eight regular season games heading into the playoffs. West won its first round game with Sumrall before falling to eventual 4A state champion East Central in the next round.

"We started slow, but we managed to work our way up a little bit" Walters said. "We got to the second round, and it was pretty good."

"We didn't start as strong as we wanted to" said senior wide receiver Jason McKinney. "We lost a few of the first games, but we came back strong after that."

West Lauderdale's schedule is almost identical to the 2017 slate, but the 2018 Knights are a little different from the ones that took the field last fall.

"This group is really close. All respect to the teams in previous years, but I can say this a very close-knit group" Clay said. "They really play off each other well, and I'm very proud of the team unity we have right now. We want to be better than we were the play before, and the night before."

West Lauderdale opens the 2018 season on August 17th at home against Greene County.