BROOMFIELD — Make no mistake, when people thought of Legacy football over the last few years, they thought of quarterback Matt Lynch.
And rightfully so.
But Lynch is gone to UCLA and so too was a huge class of seniors that took Legacy into the second round of the Class 5A playoffs last year; and in steps another class that is eager to forge its own identity and prove that the winning ways are here to stay.
"There is probably not a lot of expectations around this team right now other than inside our own building," said veteran coach Wayne Voorhees, who enters his 14th season in charge of the Lightning.
Legacy returns just four starters from last years team and most of them made their impact on the defensive side of the ball. That is where Voorhees feels really god about his team, calling it one of the more athletic defense he has had.
It may take some time for the offense to jel, but Voorhees is confident that junior Alec Lewis cans step right in to his new role as the starting quarterback and confidently guide the Lightning.
"Defensively we are running to the ball more and we are more aggressive," Voorhees said. "I really think our kids are focused on winning games and more specifically going out and having fun spreading the ball around."
Their schedule, especially in the newly formed Class 5A Mount Antero, should set the Lightning up for success.
They'll have the opportunity to score the necessary RPI points, via victory — against the nonleague likes of Horizon (defending Front Range co-champs), Overland and Chino Hills High in California that is coming off a 10-3 season — needed to qualify for the final field of 16 teams.
In the Antero, Legacy will likely do battle with Regis Jesuit for the top spot in the conference and they get the Raiders right out of the league gate on Oct. 7. Also in the league are Aurora Central, Douglas County, Bear Creek and Westminster.
"I'll be interested to see what we can do on that part of the schedule," said Voorhees, whose team technically has just three home games all season. "We've got winnable games across the board, we just need to come out and play well.
"One thing we did a great job of last year is not turning the ball over and if we come out and do that and play great defense, we will be in good shape."
COACH: Wayne Voorhees (14th year, 82-57).
LAST YEAR: 6-4 overall, 6-1 Front Range League (lost 34-7 to Regis Jesuit in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs).
RETURNING STARTERS: Brendon Fannin (Sr., DT, 6-0, 255); Marcus Libera (Jr., DT, 5-10, 250); Ethan Simmons (Sr., RB-CB/LB, 5-7, 148); Nick Solusod (Sr., OLB, 5-8, 177).
OTHERS TO WATCH: Matt Davis (Sr., DE, 6-0, 205); Kenny Gonzales Sr., RB-LB, 6-0, 215); Braxton Hansen (Sr., WR, 5-8, 152); Jake Hearnan (Sr., LB, 5-0, 180); Alec Lewis (Jr., QB, 5-11, 185); Anthony Lyle (Sr., WR-DB, 6-0, 175); Ryan Lynch (Jr., WR-DB, 6-1, 176); Maleek Rashaad (Sr., LB, 6-0, 190); Ross Smith (Jr., WR-DB, 6-1, 189); Carter Tjornejoy (Sr., DE, 6-0, 199); Brandon Wills (Jr., RB-LB, 5-10, 188).
DIVISION-1/COLLEGE PROSPECTS: Fannin, Simmons.
MUST-SEE GAME: vs. Broomfield, Friday.
STRENGTHS: It is a very athletic defense and offensively, it may be the best collective group of receivers that Voorhees has had in his tenure.
WEAKNESSES: There are going to be some growing pains, especially on the offensive side, where there is a bunch of inexperienced players.
Sept. 2 — at Broomfield, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — at Chino Hills, California, TBD
Sept. 16 — PRAIRIE VIEW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — vs. Horizon, North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Overland, Stutler Bowl, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — at Regis Jesuit*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — at Aurora Central*, Aurora Public Schools Stadium, 6 p.m.
Oct. 21 — at Bear Creek*, Jeffco Stadium, 4 p.m.
Oct. 28 — DOUGLAS COUNTY*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 — WESTMINSTER*, 7 p.m.
Note: Home games noted in upper case, at North Stadium.
*Asterisk indicates Mount Antero League game.