Just being a part of the Panther football team last season wasn't the only goal for Solomon Pierce and Lawson Cook. They wanted to be considered valuable members of the team. Lawson and Pierce were both walk-ons last season, but for the Fall 2018 season they have earned ECC Football Scholarships.
Through hard work and determination during workouts this spring 2018, Cook and Pierce proved they were the kind of men that the Panthers needed for the upcoming season.
Pierce, who originally came to Ellsworth from Perry, IA to play defensive line, became an offensive lineman this spring and immediately saw progress. Last season he appeard in four games and had 9 tackles, but now has a chance to be a major contributor to the Panthers offense this season. "It's always exciting when Iowa kids find success in our program," commented ECC Head Football Coach Tony Haynes. "Our in-state players make up the majority of our roster and, because of that, they have the greatest effect on our culture. The first step to our success here as a new staff was getting our Iowa kids to buy-in and not just adopt this culture but cement it into our day-to-day way of doing things, and that's exactly what they've done. Solomon is a perfect example of that. He's done a great job this spring and we're excited about his future."
Cook is a linebacker from Dacula, GA. "Lawson has a motor like no other," says Haynes. "He's been committed to our success since the first day I got here, and he's been a lot of fun to coach this spring. We're expecting big things out of him this season."
"I'm extremely proud of these guys. They embody the culture and work ethic of our football program, which is driven by our valuable walk-on program. You can't be "middle-of-the-road" here at Ellsworth football. Our program is about facilitating success for young people who are serious and willing to make the necessary sacrifices to succeed in life. You've got to be a different cat if you want to be a part of our family, and these guys have earned the right to be called #DifferentCats! Every day we're closely evaluating our non-scholarship players for the opportunity to earn a football scholarship. We're not just evaluating these guys on the football field, we're evaluating them in all facets of their college lives. These two young men have been positive students, teammates, citizens, and players. There is not a greater moment as a football coach than when you get to reward a guy for all his hard work like this."
The Panthers will open their season on Thursday, Aug. 23, at Hutchinson Community College with kick-off at 7 pm.
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