By Justin Maskulinski, Staff Writer
Last season was a tale of two halves for Legacy Prep.
The Lions began 1-5 against a tough non-district slate, with the lone win coming in double overtime. The young roster turned a corner in district play and went 3-3 in the second half, including a playoff win.
In 2020, Legacy Prep returns 14 starters — nine on offense — and is eager to continue to make strides.
“It is very valuable, especially on the offensive line,” Legacy Prep coach Clint McDonald said of the experience. “Coming back into camp, it’s been huge that we don’t have to review as much as we did last year. Offensively, especially, we’re just picking up where we left off.”
The offensive line is full of experience, including four players — Caden Auger, Jackson Perniciaro, Sean Stepanik and Pete Rome — who started every game last year. Rome has started since he was a sophomore, and Stepanik joins him as another senior in the trenches.
There’s experience behind the line, too, in junior quarterback Tyler Prazak. Like the team as a whole, Prazak took lumps early last year and is better because of it.
“It was just about getting more experience and getting the speed of the game,” Prazak said of his sophomore season. “It helped me a lot. I’m light years ahead of last year right now because of starting all year and getting that experience.”
McDonald has also noticed growth from Prazak as a leader as he moves into his junior season.
“He tried to do it a little bit last year but wasn’t quite sure how to do it,” the coach said. “You can see a huge change in how he’s leading now. It’s more about leading as example and focusing on the next play.”
Offensively, the biggest hole to fill is that left by Sam Bargainer. The tailback had more than 2,000 yards of offense and 18 touchdowns on his way to a TAPPS all-state first team selection. Jeremy Brown, Aidan Moorman and David May are among the skill players expected to contribute this season and make up for the loss.
“We have so much experience,” Moorman, a senior wideout and safety, said. “Even the new guys who were up next knew how to do it. It’s been very easy coming into this season from last season, especially because we had all that summer time.”
Defensively, the biggest holes are left by linebacker Carson McDonald and back Charlie Mazur, both second team all-state picks.
The Lions were aligned into yet another small district and will compete in District 4 against familiar foes in Brazos Christian and Rosehill Christian while also adding Cypress Christian and Northland Christian, a team Legacy is familiar with from non-district competition.
“It’s going to be very competitive,” McDonald said. “Cypress is coming down and they’ve always been good. Northland is always a tough team. Brazos and Rosehill return a lot of guys, so it’s going to be interesting.”
The Lions, still a young program, have wasted no time building tradition. Last season marked the fourth-straight trip to the postseason, a streak that includes a state championship appearance in 2017.
With a large group of starters back, the goal is to keep the streak alive and build on the second half of 2019.