Kenny Lacy didn't play a single down of game action last year.
It could have been a waste of a season after transferring to Mountain Pointe from Cesar Chavez.
It clearly didn't play out that way.
At the end-of-the-season banquet, he earned a letter for his contributions during practice.
Then, when the team traveled to the University of Arizona during the summer for a 7-on-7 event, the 6-foot-4, 243-pounder was offered a scholarship by coach Bob Stoops, despite not playing varsity action since his freshman year at Chavez.
"It was frustrating not playing in the games, but I still worked hard," Lacy said. "I knew I couldn't just let it be a lost season. I just focused on getting better instead of not playing in the games."
He is back to playing this season as the Pride (2-3) hosts Brophy (5-0) on Friday night, and is starting to make his presence felt on both sides of the ball.
"I was rusty and I am more focused now," Lacy said of his better play in recent weeks. "The game was coming at me fast, and now I feel like I am finally catching up."
Lacy is expected to be back to his starting offensive tackle position against Brophy.
He played a lot of defensive tackle in recent weeks when the Pride were missing starters.
Raynon Blackshire (ankle) missed a game before coming back last week and Mark Fraboni (concussion) missed the last two games, but he has been cleared for tonight's game.
Lacy was able to lean on the experience he gained on the practice squad as their replacement.
"I actually worked mostly on defense in practice last year so I am comfortable there," he said. "I'm more comfortable at left tackle, but I like playing both ways."
Mountain Pointe defensive coordinator Jeff Decker said Lacy has a chance to develop into a very good player.
"He is playing pretty good lately at defensive tackle," Decker said. "He has a long reach and he can play off blocks really well. If he puts in the effort, the sky is the limit with his size.
"When he decides to go full-go he is hard to handle."
Lacy, who is originally from Colorado, said he knows there is plenty of room for growth physically with his technique.
"I have to perform this year, get better and be more consistent," said Lacy, who has also heard from Oregon, Nebraska, Oregon and Arizona State. "Then I will go to some combines and, hopefully, get a chance to play somewhere on the West Coast."
Pride coach Norris Vaughan said Lacy did a good job of making sure he kept working last year and it is paying off in 2011.
"I think it can really stunt your growth," he said. "There is no pressure, no responsibility and no coaches correcting your mistakes during a game. I think it does set you back and you can get into some bad habits. If you are in the games you are getting the experience and learning from it."
Half-way through the season, Lacy is now playing the way the coaching staff expected.
"He has really come a long way," Vaughan said. "Early in the year he didn't play too well, but has really come on the last three games. He is coming off the ball good and moving some people around."
Lacy, who will also be part of the Pride basketball team, said while he got frustrated at times, it was clear he made the right choice, especially after he was considered a letterman.
"I don't think I'd be as far along if I stayed where I was," Lacy said. "I am playing against better players in practice and in our games. Getting that letter showed me that they saw how much I worked."
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