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LHS senior ready for season

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s been a tough road for Adrian (A.J.) Traylor and his fellow seniors on the LaGrange High football team.

Over the past three seasons the Grangers have won just four games, and that included a winless season when Traylor and the other seniors were freshmen.

The good news for Traylor is that he has one final season to try to make some more positive on-the-field memories.

Traylor, a wide receiver and defensive back, will be one of the key components of a LaGrange team that is led by first-year head coach Matt Napier.

“I feel like this is my year,” said Traylor, LaGrange’s leading receiver last season. “Whatever I’ve got to do to get my team right, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Napier, who came to LaGrange after spending the previous 15 seasons as the offensive coordinator on the Callaway High football team, is pleased with the leadership Traylor has shown, and he has relied on him heavily since summer workouts began last week.

“He has such a positive attitude,” Napier said. “Just getting to know him over the last five months, he’s been a leader on our team. He’s encouraging other players. He’s a contact guy, telling everybody to be here at this time, and make sure you’re there. He’s embraced that senior leadership role. Kudos to his personality, his work ethic, his determination. He’s a guy stepping up doing those little things that champions do. He’s been a pleasure to coach, and I’m looking forward to coaching him this year.”

Traylor and his teammates were in the midst of the offseason strength-and-conditioning program when everything was shut down because of the coronavirus.

It was nearly three months before the players and coaches were able to get together again, and the Grangers are wrapping up their second week of summer workouts.

“Me and my guys, we just had to adapt,” Traylor said. “We still have to get ready. We’re just trying to make the best out of what we’ve got right now.”

Napier is relying heavily on Traylor and the other seniors to set a high standard and be the “leaders of the team.”

“On bad teams, nobody leads, on good teams the coach leads, and on great teams the players lead,” Napier said. “You’ve heard that a lot, and it’s definitely been the case through the successful years I’ve had as a coach. The players have taken ownership, and he’s definitely done that. You need those guys buying in, and doing the little things. That’s when you can really take it to another level, and A.J. has been doing that so far, and I’m looking forward to him doing that some more.”

On the field, Traylor is a critical player for the Grangers.

He had more than 20 catches last season with a touchdown, and he had six receptions in a season-opening win over Heard County. Traylor also had a critical touchdown catch in LaGrange’s victory over Hampton.

Traylor is also a defensive back and he’ll likely spend plenty of time on that side of the ball this season.

“I love defense,” Traylor said.

Traylor has been working hard to make sure his senior season is one to remember.

“I’m very excited,” Traylor said. “All that hard work I’ve done, it’s going to pay off this year.”