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There is no truth to the rumor that Derrick Laney has a future in acting, despite the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School senior's penchant for the dramatic.

Laney's latest heroic moment helped seal the football program's biggest win in five years. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end broke through the Cartersville line and blocked what would have been a tying extra-point kick late in last Friday's 14-13 upset win that sealed a Georgia Class AAA playoff berth for the 7-3 Warriors.

He had clinched an earlier win in similar fashion against LaFayette, blocking a last-minute field-goal attempt. Those are just two of many highlights for the two-time wrestling state champion. He has earned acclaim on the football field this year with 100 total tackles, including 37 for loss. He has six sacks and has caused three fumbles to go along with several memorable hits.

It's not the plays, however, that LFO coach Todd Windham will remember the most about Laney.

"I have an 8-year-old who was at the game last week, and If I could point to a player and say to my son, this is the way you play football, it would be Derrick," Windham said. "Not necessarily so much in his technique or anything, but this is how you play between the whistles."

LFO defensive coordinator Bo Campbell is among those who believe Laney would have a very bright future in football if he chose to concentrate on the sport.

"He's the best player I've coached on the defensive side as far as going 100 miles per hour every play," Campbell said. "From personally seeing guys in college and the level of play, he's suited for that.

"Adjusting to the speed of the game is the biggest challenge in going from high school football to college. In college, you've got to go 100 miles an hour every play, but he's already there. He's a very, very underrated player in our area. I would put him up against any defensive end who's signed."

Laney hears the football talk every day but is not ready to make a decision on his future. The way he looks at it, he can't go wrong either way.

"I think if I was more devoted to football, I would be better off as a college prospect than maybe in wrestling," Laney sayd. "What it does is give me the option. I don't have to go to school strictly for football. If I don't want to go to school and play football, I have an option in wrestling. I'm not going to do anything early. I want to keep my options open. I don't want to do something now and regret it."

Vanderbilt and Georgia coaches visited him during the spring, and other schools including Memphis, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Jacksonville State have shown intense interest. Ironically, UTC's football Mocs might be recruiting against the wrestling Mocs, who have offered him a scholarship.

Laney will get some serious exposure Friday night when the Warriors travel to top-ranked Gainesville, a program loaded with big-time prospects. Windham believes he will more than hold his own.

"This will be a fun stage for him to play on this week against a bunch of very talented players from Gainesville and see how he will match up against several guys who will be playing in big arenas on Saturdays," Windham said. "He has the ability to be right there with them."

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