Most players would have sat around and pouted, or maybe even taken their ball and gone home
But Cameron Lifsey isn’t most players.
In 2017, he burst onto the scene as a freshman on the Loganville Christian football team, finishing third in the county in rushing and second on his team in tackles. But for the next two years, he found himself spending more time looking on from the bench.
“We had some guys transfer in who were a lot better than me,” Lifsey said.
The harsh reality was no doubt a tough pill to swallow for a young man who was coming off a dream season. But looking back, Lifsey says it might have been the best thing that could have happened to him.
“Seeing other players let me know I had to raise the standard for myself,” Lifsey said. “It gave me a goal to work toward.”
So instead of sulk, he took mental notes of the way his replacements played the game, the way they carried themselves. And he spent more time weight training and improving his strength and stamina.
Now, three years later, with the path cleared by graduation, he’s ready to cap off his career the way it began. He’ll once again be starting in the offensive backfield and at middle linebacker on defense.
“He’s probably the strongest player on the team,” Lions first-year head coach Tim Wellmaker said. “He’s put in the work to make himself better.”
The yards and tackles will be tougher to come by this time because he’ll be facing an increased level of competition. The Lions are making the transition to the Georgia High School Association from the Georgia Independent School Association.
It’s a challenge Lifsey is excited to take on.
“The standard and quality of opponents and players is at a higher level,” Lifsey said. “If I can play well against that level of competition, I can feel good about how far I’ve come. I think it’s the perfect move.”
The level of competition isn’t the only thing different this time for Lifsey. In 2017, he was an anxious and inexperienced freshman. Now he a seasoned veteran who’s expected to take on the mantle of leadership.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into back then,” Lifsey said of his first season. “Now I feel like I have to take on more a leader role. I feel like I’ve always been more of a quiet leader, but now I have to be more vocal, to set the standard for others.”
Tim Wellmaker is counting on Lifsey to lead a group of guys he’s still getting to know.
“He was one of the first players I met when I first came on,” Wellmaker said. “I could tell then he was a special player. Now that I’ve had a chance to be with him, he’s everything I thought he was.”