Lehigh Lightning set to bring national attention to SWFL

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — High school football practices roll on and there may not be a more exciting team this year in Lee County than the Lehigh Lightning.

Today was the first afternoon practice for the Lightning of the fall before their mascot took over the skies above the practice fields and forced everyone inside after 20 minutes. But even being out there for a little bit with pads on and contact allowed was all that mattered.

“Feels good to be back man, it feels good to compete every day. Competed during the summer workouts every day but it’s time to get a motivation back, our team back and our family back so I’m happy to be out here,” Lehigh senior running back Richard Young said.

The Lightning come into the season with eyes from all over the country on them, courtesy of players like South Carolina commit and wide receiver Kelton Henderson and the nations top running back Richard Young a recent Alabama commit.

“It feels amazing just ending my process and now I can just focus on the one school that fits best for me and that is why I made that decision,” Young said about his commitment to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Players of that caliber lead to attention that only a few schools in the country can rival.

“September 9th we will be on ESPN against Lake Gibson here at Lehigh,” Lehigh Senior head coach James Chaney said.

This will be the second time ESPN will live broadcast a game from Southwest Florida. This will also be the first game since Fort Myers against North Fort Myers in 2006.

“It’s good for the area and for me I am not impressed by much but I still take it as a big step for us because I want my teammates to get the recognition they deserve,” Lehigh senior linebacker and running back Gerral Blue said.

A game like this is bigger than just the Lightning, however.

“What I really strive for is our area to gain more attention and the players in our area getting more attention and more scholarships and more opportunities and this whole ESPN thing is just going to help the whole area,” Coach Chaney said.

And the team is ready to represent the area on a national stage, but also take care of business close to home in a year where the schools first state championship could become a reality.

“We always had a problem struggling with people coming together but this year it feels different everything is just kind of clicking,” Blue said.

“The impression of this team is different and I can feel it. I can feel the energy, I can feel more brotherhood, more family so I feel like we are going to come out and dominate every play we get,” Young said.

That first chance will be Cypress Lake on August 19 with their official season opener being the following Friday against Naples.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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