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Lafayette offensive lineman Parker Lawson enjoys the camaraderie among the players on the line. 

MAYO — Playing on both sides of the ball for the first time, Lafayette senior lineman Parker Lawson is generating attention from local colleges.

“His stock is continuing to rise,” Hornet coach Mark Beach said. “His upside is he can hold another 40 or 50 pounds, he’s a skinny kid, even though he’s 6-foot-5 and 246 pounds.”

Lawson said he likes playing offensive line the best because of the camaraderie among the lineman, and likes playing football because of the physicality required.

“It takes the whole team to win,” he said, citing close victories against Chiefland and Branford. “We’re the biggest guys and everybody respects us, and I like the brotherhood I have with the rest of my offensive line is like nothing els. The skill guys don’t have what we have.”

Lawson, like his older brother, started playing in the seventh grade, and has played since, starting his two-way role this year, but contributes best with, “My blocking skills.”

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While he's making an impact on defense this season as well, Parker Lawson said he enjoys playing offensive line more.

“I play left tackle on offense, defensive end and I’m the long snapper,“ he said. “I like left tackle the best, that’s what I’ve played my whole career, even in junior varsity.”

Lawson said he has become a leader by example on the offensive line.

“On offense he’s a big presence, he covers, he moves well, and he’s getting a little salty now,” Beach said. “He’s a leader, not a vocal leader, he’s quiet kid. Playing defense has made him a better offensive player.”

Lawson said Beach likes to find leaders on the offensive line, and is stressing fundamentals as the team prepares for it’s playoff run, blocking and tackling — two of the players’ most important requirements.

“I’m kinda the leader on the line,” Lawson said. “But not with the rest of the team, I don’t have that kind of connection with everyone.”

But he also is a school leader as boys’ representative for seniors and is part of the student council.

On defense Lawson plays defensive line, but the team will not overuse him there, just like the other two-way players like Perry and Mario Thomas.

“Because we play so fast and high tempo of offense, I try to limit their time, but they are some of our better defensive players. I tell them to get water, and tap me on the back when you’re good to go,” defensive coordinator Tim Larsen said.

Against Trenton in Friday’s regular season finale, Lawson showed off his playmaking ability for the Hornets’ defense, making a nifty pass breakup to deny a Trenton score.

“He understands the defense and he’s a big body. He’s physical and you can’t trap him, and he’ll stuff a pulling guard,” Larsen added. “Beach is pretty good at letting him play, but may say, ‘He’s done,’ if we have a big lead or something. Plus we try to give these other guys some time playing.”

Beach said Lawson has been a huge part of the success the team has had this year, entering the postseason 9-1 and with a first-round bye after earning the second seed in Region 3-1A. The Hornets, off this week with that bye, will host the winner of the Dixie County-Union County game in a regional semifinal on Nov. 15.

“We put him in on defense in a lot of critical situations,” Beach said. “He’s just a great football player. On offense he moves well in space. We do a lot of screens where he has to pull. When he’s straight up in front of a guy, man-to-man, he’s got the physical ability to make him pay.”

Lawson has gotten some interest from Jacksonville University and Stetson, where’s he had unofficial visits and has attended camps.

“Some coaches have been here and have talked to him,” Beach said. “I’m super excited for him.”

Jeff Shourds is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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