The Lee Generals have a big district matchup this week against Lake City Columbia. Lee head coach O.J. Small joined “XL Primetime” on 1010XL to preview the game and give his thoughts on his alma mater’s loss to Kentucky this past Saturday.
“This is definitely a critical game because the last couple years to be district champs you had to go through Lake City and Lee,” Small told 1010XL. “We have to make sure we are on our ‘A’ game because I know Lake City is going to play us hard. We need to make sure we are ready to execute our plays and try to dominate.”
Lee is off to a 3-0 start so far in 2018; how happy is Small with what he has seen from his team thus far?
“I’m never satisfied, but I know that we have been making some plays every game,” Small said. “We have a lot of stuff to clean up on offense, but it’s just about getting better every week.
“I know we have a lot of athletes here, not a lot of depth, but a lot of athletes. As long as they are playing with confidence and at full-speed we will be able to execute and just have fun with it.”
This Friday night in Lake City it will not only be Lee vs Lake City, but it will be a little Florida vs Florida State. Small, is a former Gator wide receiver, while Brian Allen, a former Seminole linebacker, is the head coach of Lake City Columbia.
Small says he has a lot of respect for Allen and what he has done in Lake City.
“He always has his team pumped up to play and they are a very disciplined group over there,” Small said. “They always give all-out effort for Coach Allen and he has done a wonderful job.
“The district title has been going through Lake City or Lee that past four or five years. I’m happy for it and I’m happy for what he is doing over there.
“We are both just having fun, giving back and trying to produce young men in the process of it.”
Lake City Columbia has a unique home field advantage as games there typically feel like a college atmosphere. Small embraces that challenge.
“We get pumped up for games like this,” Small said. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge. They tailgate and all down there. They have true fans down there and it’s a beautiful sight honestly.
“To see that in Florida, I like it. It pumps me up and I’m sure the kids feed off of that as well, but at the same time we know we need to go handle business. Whether it’s home field, or away, at the end of the day our goal is to become 1-0 every week.”
Small never lost to Kentucky in his four years at Florida; after seeing the winning streak against Kentucky come to an end on Saturday, what did the former Gator wide receiver think?
“It was heartbreaking, hard and a tough pill to swallow,” Small said. “Hopefully they are able to bounce back. I plan on going down this weekend to check them out against Colorado State.
“First time Kentucky beat them in 32 years, is a big pill to swallow. Hopefully they learn from it and pull together to finish the season strong.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)