SW's Lacey Embraces Challenge

South Warren’s Jacob Lacey doesn’t like ‘cupcake’ games.

What is a ‘cupcake’ game, you may ask? A ‘cupcake’ game is basically a form of football game in which one team plays another team that is of significantly lower talent and competition.

Fortunately for Lacey, those games don’t come often in such a talent-rich football community like Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“Better competition is more fun,” Lacey told the Sporting Times. “I don’t like the ‘cupcake’ games because I like to challenge myself to be able to improve every week.”

And boy, has challenge done a number for the junior defensive tackle. In late July, Lacey announced his commitment to play football at the University of Notre Dame.

But it wasn’t just football that persuaded Lacey to choose the Fighting Irish.

“They were one of the first schools to come after me, but the education opportunities are what hooked me,” Lacey said. “It felt good to know that they could provide me with opportunities after football when I graduate.”

With his commitment, Lacey is one of just a handful of Division 1 athletes to commit to their respective schools in the Bowling Green area over the past couple of years.

“We’ve got some very talented players in the area, and it really helps to put Bowling Green on the map,” South Warren head coach Brandon Smith said. “When you have the level of talent and competition that we have around here, colleges are going to be attracted.”

[caption id="attachment_11386" align="alignleft" width="300"]Lacey 1 South Warren's Jacob Lacey (left, 55) closes in on Warren Central's Xavier Patrick-Brown (15) and Jamale Barber (6) in the Citizens First Bowl at Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium./Photo by Paul Gray.[/caption]

Since working with his dad through his sixth grade year, Lacey eventually earned a starting spot on the defensive line for the Spartans’ 2015 season, when South Warren went undefeated and won a 4A State title.

That year Lacey, along with brother Brycen and fellow defensive lineman and current Kentucky Wildcat Adrian Middleton, led a South Warren defense that allowed an astonishing 5.9 points per game, 43 rushing yards per game, and 68 passing yards per game.

“I always looked up to Brycen when I was growing up, him being my older brother,” Lacey said. “Getting to win that state championship with him was one of the best times of my life.”

Lacey has only shown improvement since his freshman campaign, tallying 33 tackles in 2015 and an impressive 72 tackles in 2016.

“Jacob is the only freshman that we’ve ever really played,” Smith said. “We’ve got to watch him grow from a kid that never really said anything to a more comfortable and vocal kid now. He’s starting to let out those leader characteristics and emotions as he continues to mature.”

Along with his dad and his brother, Lacey shows gratitude for his head coach as he has gone through his high school career and the college recruiting process.

“Coach Smith has helped me out a lot, from working with me on technique to pushing me to do things I didn’t know I could do,” Lacey said. “He put a lot on himself to help me make the right decision in the recruiting process.”

Additionally, Lacey had some advice to give to some of the younger players that look up to him and other athletes around the area.

“Never give up,” Lacey said. “Some people, like Adrian Middleton, come in and are not the best players, but he put in the hard work and look where he is now.”

Lacey has started out his junior campaign with a bang, posting 14 tackles and helping to lead the Spartans to a 3-0 record on the young season.

South Warren is ranked No. 3 in Class 5A in the latest Litkenhous Ratings, including a No. 15 spot state-wide. The Spartans travel to face Central Hardin on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. CT.