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WNSR Sports Stories Archives for 2023-07

James Lawson High School Athletic Facilities

At the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year James Lawson High School will open its doors in the Bellevue area. The school is replacing Hillwood High School after over 60 years of operation. The new state-of-the-art high school will open after nearly a decade of planning and construction which ended up costing about 124 million dollars. Lawson will house nearly 1600 students during its first year of operation and many of those students will be part of the school's athletic programs.

Athletics in high school are crucial to the students, it teaches them teamwork and comradery. Lawson did not hold back when it came to designing its athletic facilities. The brand-new gymnasium can house around 1600 people, while the football field sits right next to the Harpeth River and Interstate 40. The campus will also contain fields for most outdoor sports like soccer, baseball, and softball. There will also be practice fields on sight. Inside there is also a practice gym and wrestling facilities. Needless to say, Lawson went all out for their athletic department.

Lighting Athletics kick off their 2023-2024 campaign on August 18th when the football team hosts Cheatham County. This will mark the first game for coach Brian Lilly’s squad in school history and the first at the brand-new Lighting Stadium. The Lighting will host five home games this season with their final test coming against Nolensville on October 6th.

Lawson High School is looking for an exciting season for its football program and its athletic department as a whole. These new facilities should give these student-athletes an extra boost for the upcoming school year.

Homes games are highlighted 

Lawson Lightning Football Schedule 2023

8/18  Cheatham County vs James Lawson 

8/25  James Lawson vs Sycamore

8/31  Stratford vs James Lawson 

9/8  Centennial vs James Lawson

9/15  Spring Hill vs James Lawson

9/22  James Lawson vs Hillsboro

9/29  James Lawson vs Page

10/6  Nolensville vs James Lawson 

10/20  James Lawson vs Columbia Central

10/26  James Lawson vs Glencliff 



Alek Kisiel / WNSR Columnist 

@AlekKisiel on Twitter 




The Hogs Surging Forward

The year was 1989: the Detroit Pistons had won their first NBA title, Wayne Gretzky became the National Hockey League's all-time leading scorer, and Barry Sanders was a rookie in the NFL. Also, that year the Arkansas Razorback football team claimed their last conference championship. The Razorbacks finished 10-2 with one loss in the conference and one in their Cotton Bowl appearance against Tennessee. It may be hard to believe it has been that long, but it is also harder to believe that this was not done in the SEC. Arkansas football at the time was part of the Southwestern Conference which included teams like Rice, SMU, and future SEC member Texas. The Razorbacks have never won the SEC but have four trips to the title game.

            Sam Pittman inherited one of the worst jobs in the SEC when he took the reins in 2020. The previous two seasons saw the Hogs go 4-20 with zero conference wins. Pittman has started to steer the ship in a different direction. In his three seasons at the helm, he has compiled a 19-17 record with two bowl appearances, winning both. He has also had some signature wins as head coach which includes a win over 16th-ranked Mississippi State to snap a 20-game conference losing streak in 2020 and a win over number 15 Texas in the 2021 season.

Arkansas Quarterback - KJ Jefferson, answering questions at SEC Media Days in Nashville TN

Pittman has also developed one of the best QBs in the nation. KJ Jefferson has turned himself into an elite quarterback. He has thrown for over 5,000 yards in his two full seasons as the razorback's starter, what's even more impressive is what he can do on the ground. Jefferson has rushed for over 1,400 yards averaging just over three yards a carry. His play on the field has made him one of the top quarterback prospects headed into the 2024 NFL draft. He was also on the preseason all-SEC second team. QB is not the only strength for this Arkansas team Raheim "Rocket" Sanders is back. Sanders led the SEC in rushing during his second season in Fayetteville with over 1400 yards on the ground adding nearly 300 more receiving. Sanders was picked to be the first-team all-SEC running back for the upcoming season. These two guys returning should give the Razorbacks a potent offense under first-year OC Dan Enos.

            Even with some star power coming back the Hogs were fifth in a stacked SEC west behind: Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss. Arkansas' non-conference schedule is fairly easy with BYU being their best opponent. But the key for the Razorbacks is getting through the gauntlet of their first four conference games. The Hogs have to travel to LSU, Arlington to play A&M, Ole Miss, and Alabama. Winning just two of those games would be huge for the Razorbacks and will put them in good shape for the second half of the season. 

            Arkansas football was in a dark place under Chad Morris. Sam Pittman has brought life back to Fayetteville. His coaching ability is giving Razorback fans hope for the future and they hope that future has Sam Pittman cracking open a beer after a SEC championship victory.




Alek Kisiel / WNSR Columnist 

@AlekKisiel on Twitter 

Taking a Gamble

In recent months the National Football League has had a major issue with players gambling on mobile sports apps. It has affected multiple teams and some notable players throughout the league. Some of the major players who have seen their 2023 season reduced are Lions receiver Jameson Williams, Colts defensive back/return specialist Isaiah Rodgers, and Titans Offensive Tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. Williams and Petit-Frere are suspended for six games and Rodgers is suspended for the entire 2023 season. Rodgers was betting on NFL games while the other two were making bets on other sports while on team property.

            Many think the NFL has not been clear on the rules of when or how to use gambling apps, putting players in tough situations when it comes to gambling. Many also believe that the NFL promoting gambling for their fans has made the rules very iffy for players who see these gambling ads being run by the league they play for. This leads some to believe that the punishments handed out to the number of players suspended are unfair.

 Dave McGinnis (Titans Radio Network) & Jonathan Hutton (Outkick) at Kitchen Notes inside The Omni Nashville Hotel

"You don't know who has done what based on who is going to be turned in through these betting apps retroactively, they can stress the rules again all they want to. There suspending players before stressing the rules for a second or third time based on what had happened last fall or the past winter slash early spring,” said Johnathan Hutton in his interview on the Greg Pogue and John Burton Show.

            However, Hutton does agree that betting on NFL games does warrant a suspension. Most people have problems with the suspension of gambling on non-NFL events on team property like Titans Offensive Tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere did.

            This suspension also puts a wrench in the Titans offensive line which struggled last season. Petit-Frere is the team's starting right tackle a key part of that O-line. Now the Titans have to rework their line for the six games of the regular season, five of those games are against AFC teams which is critical for tiebreakers for a possible playoff berth. The Titans also need to stay healthy upfront with this suspension or they will be in serious trouble in the trenches. In those first six games, they have to face guys like Myles Garrett and Joey Bosa which does not bode well for a depleted offensive line. 


Alek Kisiel / WNSR Columnist 

@AlekKisiel on Twitter 





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