Lions look forward to upcoming football season


Symiah Dorsey/The Lion's Roar

The Lions open the season at Strawberry Stadium on Sept. 4 against the University of North Alalbama.

It will be a season of change for the Lions football team. Raymond Monica, who spent the last two seasons as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach, will be changing to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Head coach Frank Scelfo made a new hire in his son Anthony Scelfo who will coach tight ends and serve as passing coordinator along with recruiting coordinator.

Anthony has spent the previous three seasons as Northwestern State University’s quarterback’s coach, recruiting coordinator and pass game coordinator. Northwestern quarterback Shelton Eppler set university records in almost every major passing stat while being coached by Anthony. This included passing yards, touchdowns, pass attempts and completion percentage.

Frank is more than happy to share the field with his eldest son.  

“It’s awesome. For one I know he’s a good coach. He believes in the same philosophies that I believe in which is executed is the key not innovation. I know how he is as a man and how he’s going to mentor these young players,” Frank said. 

Besides the changes with the coaching staff, the Southland Conference has seen some movement this offseason. Five schools left the conference: Sam Houston State, Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Lamar and Stephen F. Austin, leaving the Conference with six schools left. 

Some opponents will be played twice a year in the new conference format. Southeastern will play in-state foes McNeese State, Northwestern State and Nicholls State two times each this year.  

On the field, the Lions are expected to finish first in the Southland Conference this season, with a league-high 16 preseason All-Southland conference returners leading the way the season has real promise. 

Senior quarterback Cole Kelley is coming off a season in which he broke many records and achieved multiple accolades. He was Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-America selection along with winning the FCS Walter Payton Award which is given to the top-performing player at the FCS level.

Kelley tossed 18 passing touchdowns to go along with seven rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns. Kelley also threw for 2,662 yards to go along with a 69% completion percentage. 

Kelley is looking to be a back-to-back recipient of the Walter Payton Award. 

Junior cornerback Ferlando Jordan has also been named to a pre-season watchlist for the FCS Buck Buchanan Award. The award is given to the defensive player of the year.

“We don’t have expectations for ourselves, we just want to go out there and do the best we can every single day. When Saturday’s roll around we’ll look around at the scoreboard and hopefully we’ll like the result. It’s about us improving every day,” Frank said about the season’s expectations. 

The Lions kick off the season on Sept. 4 against North Alabama University in Strawberry Stadium which has been newly done along with the updated university logo at midfield.