The Lanett Panthers finished a perfect season Dec. 5 and captured their second state football championship in three years.
Now the program is aiming to reward its players with something to commemorate the successful title run, the fourth in school history.
The Lanett High School athletic department is accepting donations to ensure all 39 players on this year’s Class 1A title-winning team receive championship rings.
“Every kid’s dream — as well as every coach’s dream — is to have a chance to play for and even win a state championship,” Lanett head coach Clifford Story said. “These boys have worked extremely hard. They’ve committed themselves to the weight room and the offseason program. They’ve done every single thing we’ve asked them to do. As the head football coach and athletic director of this program, you don’t want the kids’ parents or them to have to try and worry about purchasing rings.
“We want to do everything that we can do on our end to make sure that the season is even more memorable without them having to pay one red cent for a ring.”
The Panthers faced many questions entering the fall — replacing 14 seniors from 2018, breaking in new offensive coordinator Stephen Jackson and allowing senior quarterback Kristian Story to recover from surgery on his throwing shoulder — and still managed a perfect season.
“I was overjoyed. This was a tough year for us,” the head coach said. “To see my few seniors that I had come together and help try and bring everybody else on the same page was just eye-opening. When you’ve got new faces and things like that, people have to learn how to trust you and learn how to understand things that you want as far as systemwise. We were just able to get that going, and you could just start to see everything start to fall in place and snowball for us on the positive side.”
Anyone wishing to contribute can do so in the form of business checks, money orders or cash.
The donations can be sent to: Lanett High School, Attn: Athletics, 1301 S. Eighth Ave., Lanett, AL 36863
The coach said the company Lanett will use charges on average between $15,000 and $18,000 for an entire football team. The athletic department raised money from the community and purchased rings for the 2017 title team.
“Having a state championship ring is just something nobody can ever take from you. It’s things that you’ll be able to tell your kids and grandkids about, and then to have it on your finger — to actually show it — would even mean more,” Story said. “For them to be able to get them a championship ring, to have a ring ceremony and to see the looks on their faces would be tremendous.”