Where Are They Now?

Lakes makes impressive debut in Mercer spring game

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Former Northgate football standout running back Alex Lakes stiff-arms a defender during Mercer University’s spring game. Lakes, a freshman transfer, rushed for a game-high 109 yards while leading the Orange to a 14-0 victory. 


Mercer University’s revitalized football program continues to make progress with the help of former running backs out of Northgate High, enough that two of them may start the fall reunited as starters in the backfield.

Freshman Alex Lakes, following initial stops at Air Force and West Georgia, seems to have finally found a home with the Macon program, rushing for a game-high 109 yards on just 13 carries in the Bears’ spring football game on Saturday.

The 5-10, 205-pound running back helped lead the Orange squad to a 14-0 victory, picking up right where he left off in high school after helping lead the Vikings to a Region 3-AAAA championship in 2011.

Lakes expects to have a familiar face alongside after being reunited with former backfield mate Payton Usher, a standout during Mercer’s 10-2 campaign last fall, the school’s first season since 1941.

Usher, who joined Lakes as the Newnan Times-Herald’s co-Offensive Player of the Year in each’s senior season of varsity football, finished with 776 yards rushing and two touchdowns in just nine games with the Bears as a red-shirt freshman. He sat out the spring finale with an injury.

The former Vikings are joined on the Mercer roster by ex-Newnan offensive line standout David Raschen.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL

OWEN HAS MISSISSIPPI ST. OFF TO SOLID START: Former East Coweta softball star pitcher Allison Owen, now in her final season at Mississippi State, picked up her team-best 15th victory of the season on Saturday in a 9-3 victory over No. 18 Missouri.

The right-hander, a redshirt senior, struck out nine while lowering her season ERA to 1.91 with 178 strikeouts in 128 innings, both teams highs.

Mississippi State (30-12) is off to the third-best start in program history while 3-9 in SEC play.

Earlier this season, Owen took a tough-luck decision in a 1-0 loss to Georgia after pitching five perfect innings. The former Lady Indian began her career in Athens and contributed to a lineup that eventually reached the 2010 College World Series and appeared in four games during the tournament.

The human sciences major has equally made a mark off the field, splitting her studies with an internship at a nearby emergency shelter for runaways, homeless children and those involved in custody issues.

It involved completing 480 hours in order to graduate in May.

“Some of the kids who are coming through have been through some pretty serious situations,” Owen said in a recent online profile for SEC Digital Network. “It definitely makes you more aware of things you don’t see on the outside. It makes you appreciate what you have. I’ve been blessed enough to have a family that’s been able to come to all my softball games through- out my life. They’ve taken me places. Some of these kids don’t even have families that can come see them. Or they don’t know where their families are. They’ve been taken from them. Some of these kids have been abused. It just really makes you appreciate what you have.”

Owen is one of four Georgia natives on the roster, all from nearby areas. They include freshman pitcher Mackenzie Toler out of Whitewater.

(Have an item about a former high school player thriving in college? Send it to us at sports@newnan.com .)



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