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Landon Lebel (78) and his Hanover-Horton High School teammates are excited after a big win over Morenci on Thursday to kick off the 2021 football season. 

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(August 27, 2021 12:54 PM) During the fall football preview sessions one voice stood out among the player’s voices from Hanover-Horton High School.

And that was somewhat of a surprise.

Lineman Landon Lebel – a 6 foot 1 inch 290 pound offensive and defensive tackle – always seemed to be the first one giving his opinion on the Comets possibly winning a conference championship and a playoff game.

The senior took his time and gave some long answers – sometimes by choice and other times because of a slight stuttering problem that elongates words. But the one thing that is noticed is there is no snickering or poking one another by his teammates due to his perceived speech impediment.

It is just an indication of how sports have helped Lebel develop as a person and a leader at Hanover-Horton.

There wasn’t any stuttering on the field as Lebel and the Comets ran over Morenci 49-6 to open the season. Weeks of off-season training is giving the Comets a chance to believe they can run over the competition in the Cascades Conference this year and win the school’s first conference title in football.

“We were undefeated in eighth grade and are taking it one step at a time,” Lebel said after the game. “We are trying not to be too cocky.”

Lebel is a football junky according to his mother Wendy.

“He watches YouTube football videos and game video every night,” Wendy said. “Landon is pretty obsessed with football.”

What he isn’t obsessed with is his stuttering problem – which began at a young age, Wendy said. 

“I do think that maybe there’s been a few instances over the years where kids have given him a hard time, but he’s always taken the high road,” Wendy said. “I think sports has been a huge part of gaining the respect of his peers – they see that he’s a nice kid and a hard worker and that goes a long way.

“He has had a lot of speech therapy over the years … but it is part of the brain that controls that. Sometimes it is not that bad. I am glad that it doesn’t hold him back from speaking up.” 

The big lineman said it hasn’t bothered him over the years.

“Not being mean about the situation goes a long way,” Lebel said. “I was just born with it … that’s all. 

Lebel is known as sausage by most of his friends, teammates, and coaches. Hanover-Horton High School football Coach Perry Deliyanne believes some of the teachers probably don’t even know his real name. 

He was raised to cult figure when announcers from JTV described how Sausage was on the floor fighting for a loose basketball during a broadcast last spring when the Comets were making a run to the state basketball finals.

Lebel and the Comets will have their hands full next week on the football field as a stout Michigan Center team comes to town in an early season showdown.

Later in the season the Comets will have to go to Addison – a team that scored 61 points and ran over their opponents on Thursday night. 

“I give coach D (Deliyanne) credit for pushing us so hard during hell week and workouts,” Lebel said. “It is paying off right now.”

 Lebel would like to play small college football in the future. 

Those who know the big man wouldn’t bet against him. 

Hanover-Horton High School football player Landon Lebel listens to his coach after a 49-6 win over Morenci on Thursday night. Photos by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

 

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