Panthers scrimmage against the Sherman Tide

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By Allen Hamrick

Anybody get the number of that truck? Sure did, # 22-ATHA. Allen Hamrick photo.
It’s the Perkins-Bass wrecking company in action. Allen Hamrick photo.

It was a hot, wet day at the Panther field this past Saturday as the Panthers started the 2020 season with their first scrimmage against Sherman.  Sherman is a big, tough team that has some good offense and defense and was there to regain respect from last year and hand out tissues to the Panthers.   However, Sherman didn’t figure on butting heads against a team that gives no respect until the last buzzer sounds.  All bets were off at the first whistle, and no quarter was given from either side.  As most people know, the scrimmage is an opportunity to get the bugs out of your game prior to the season starting.

Colton Pritt and company burning the corner. Allen Hamrick photo

Coaches on both sides of the grass watched as their teams got rid of early season jitters and took real hits for the first time this season.  The Panthers did well on defense as they worked off the rust – the Panther line looked faster off the ball and penetrated their backfield more often than not.  There is a little work to be done on the offensive side of the ball, but as the game progressed the offense got better.  When the live ball part of the game began where no coaches are allowed on the field, the Panthers turned on the charm and picked the Sherman defense apart.  On defense, the Panthers looked good despite a couple of Christmas gifts they allowed Sherman to open early.  The coaches have set high standards and the boys seem ready to give the Clay County fans 100% pure football.

Andrew Adkins tap dancing through the jungle. Allen Hamrick photo.
Not sure even Covid-19 could survive this trench. Allen Hamrick photo.

The whole season depends on the color system handed out by the powers that be.  If the county goes orange or red due to Covid-19 outbreaks, then the season is put on hold until the county goes yellow or green.  So, for now, the season is up and running, but only time will tell.  The team has a good bench to go to and will have enough quality players to fill the voids from last year. It will take some work, but the talent is there.  On the offense and defensive line, the Panthers are beefed up and tough as rhinos on a dance floor.  Head coach Jason Nichols says there are some things to work on before Friday night’s opener against Phillip Barbour.  He is blessed with a good coaching staff to back him up. As a whole, they will implement some new strategies this season and, by the first game, will be ready to set the Panthers free to put some wins on the board.

Grant Krajeski looking for a landing zone. Allen Hamrick photo.
Ethan Burkhamer lands this catch in tough water. Allen Hamrick photo.

As far as this season goes, each week will be a waiting game of ifs and colors.  Don’t let this year go by without supporting the team, the band and the cheerleaders. We live in a different time and many things we took for granted seem to be a treat now, and even that’s on thin ice. They all have worked very hard in the off season to overcome some difficult hurdles to just get to suit up.  So, come out and support our youth; it may be the only chance you get.  While we eat nachos, they smash heads.  Go Panthers!