Lanning ready for RDC football opener

Published 9:29 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

By Roman West

Sports Reporter

Tony Lanning has been coaching football for 15 years now, but he will start his 16th season in a new role, at a new school in the town where he played his high school football.

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Lanning has been named head coach of the Robert D. Campbell Cardinals after being hired to coach the offensive line for George Rogers Clark in the spring.

Tonight will be the first test for Lanning and his team as McNabb comes into town for the season opener.

While it’s only his first season in charge, Lanning has high expectations for his team and his players.

“I’ve got great eighth grade players all over the place,” Lanning said. “We’ve got two great quarterbacks, great skill guys and our offensive and defensive lines are good.”

Having highly skilled players helps build the team’s greatest strength, depth. These guys are able to be plugged in anywhere on the field, offense or defense, he said.

“We’ve got big guys, speed, skill guys and our two quarterbacks are actually two of our best outside linebackers,” Lanning explained. “One could even play offensive line, he’s just a really gritty kid.”

As for team goals, Lanning says they are trying to take it one game at a time, but he still wants to win the conference and go to the state tournament.

Lanning has implemented the same style of play that the high school uses to help better prepare them for the rest of their football career. Lanning was surprised at how fast they’ve been able to learn this new system.

“They’re learning a system that’s much more complicated than just a normal ‘call a play’ style,” Lanning said. “They’ve adapted so well, and we work hard daily.”

Lanning is coaching the student-athletes more than football. In fact, his philosophy puts football last.

“Faith, Family, Fraternity and Football. I coach it just like that,” Lanning said. “This is the order that it’s in and football is the last thing. If you don’t get the other three things right it’s not going to matter because you won’t get there.”

Lanning calls RDC and GRC football a six-year program. It starts with the play style but also includes these philosophies. This “program” gives Lanning some long-term goals. He wants to see all of the kids he’s currently coaching graduate from GRC still playing football and sign somewhere to play college.

This is not a one man job however, Lanning recognizes what the people around him do for the program as well.

“I have an A1 staff. They’re good with kids and their football knowledge is second-to-none,” Lanning emphasizes. “RDC principal Dustin Howard and his staff, athletic director Ken Howard and GRC head coach Oliver Lucas and his staff have given me incredible support.”