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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

New QB Helps Lake Mary Look Solid Than University Titans

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Graduate Lake Mary quarterback standout Gunnar Smith will soon be taking his skills to the University of South Florida as a summer nomad, but the Rams have found a capable signal-caller to take his place: Logan Cook.

Cook, who will be a junior this fall, completed 7 of 10 passes for 82 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half to lead the Rams to a 21-7 Spring Game win against visiting Orange City-University. He showed a solid lead in his first two series guiding the Rams to touchdowns: a 21-yard pass to Markel Jones and a 30-yard pass to Trevor Wright.

Five different players took catches off Cook, including Carson Hinshaw, who was on the scoring strike for 32 yards.

“Gunnar is a tough spot to fill,” said Cook, who played wide receiver last year. “He’s a great leader, a great football player. But I’m very happy to be able to take over for him. I think we all played really well.”

The drama of Cook, who served as Smith’s backup over the past two seasons, will be critical to the success of Lake Mary this fall. The Rams are coming out of a 10–2 season in which they reached the regional semi-finals of Class 8A. Smith made Lake Mary’s appearance in several playoffs over four seasons, including a regional final in 2020 when it lost to Apopka 7-6.

Lake Mary coach Scott Perry said of Cook, “I thought he did very well the first time he was in charge of the offense.” “His hand was good, he shook his leg. There weren’t too many psychic (mistakes) on his part. Showed some really good leadership. We’re very happy with his new form of offense.”

Lake Mary also got some decent offensive performances from running behind Mankawez Lang (5-foot-10, 205 pounds), a workhorse who covered 73 yards in just 3 carries in the first half; and Hinshaw, who caught 4 passes for 51 yards in the opening round. Running back the rising sophomore, Isaiah Thomas also showed great speed for the Rams, and receiver Caiden Hershberger played well.

In the meantime, the varsity is looking to redouble its offense with the loss of quarterback Taz Figueroa and the playing of several young players. Cameron Jackson and Malachi Walters split time at quarterbacks, with Jackson doing his best in passing. Both can also run and catch, making the varsity offense varied to defend.

Jackson threw a 32-yard TD pass to Jermaine Hayes in the second quarter and covered nearly 90 passing yards.

“I thought he worked hard,” said varsity coach Brian Kels. “It was a good game. We got off a little bit. We have a small center of boys, so I expected (we’re a little temporary) a little bit. I felt that as the game progressed, we improved and became more confident Started showing, had to build a lot of great things.”

This report was first published in orlandosentinel.com, The University can be reached by email at Content Editor Buddy Collings [email protected],

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