Cy Springs Panthers starting anew
By L. SCOTT HAINLINE
Whenever you lose 51 lettermen, and return only five starters and 11 total varsity veterans, a current roster with updated first and last names and numbers is a key piece of equipment during early workouts.
We're going to have a lot of new young bodies and faces out there," Cy Springs coach Roland Gonzalez said. We have four (starters) back on offense, so there's some experience there, by with only one on defense, we're going to be very young on that side.
We'll have some seniors out there, but for a lot of them, it's their first time on varsity, so even though it sounds unusual, we'll be old but young."
The Panthers skipped spring workouts in order to get an even earlier jump on the season, and for Cy Springs and other Class 5A and 4A teams that didn't do the spring thing, it all starts Monday (teams that had spring workouts start Aug. 9).
After two weeks of beating up on each other, the Panthers scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Aug. 14 at Goose Creek, and at 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 at home with Katy Taylor.
In the only predistrict game, Cy Springs hosts Mayde Creek in an Aug. 27 season opener at the Berry Center.
With a 10-team district, and nine district games, we wanted to have an extra week heading into the season," Gonzalez said. We feel like we'll get more benefits out of another week, and we did make tremendous gains physically and mentally during our off-season workout period and in the summer."
Senior Afton Williams was an all-district wide receiver (37 receptions, 467 yards, one touchdown) last year, but instead of catching, he's throwing the ball this season.
In our scheme, we want a very athletic player at quarterback, and Williams is very athletic and intelligent," Gonzalez said.
We're looking for him to make big things happen with multiple looks in our spread attack."
As returning starters, senior running back Xavier Johnson (81 attempts, 478 yards, four touchdowns in 2009), senior wide out Devon Hicks and senior guard Devonte Howard hope to help make that happen, along with senior letterman and offensive lineman Marquice Howard.
Senior Emmanuel Roland is a third-year starter in the secondary, and the Panthers' only returning defensive starter.
The unit will be bolstered by senior two-year letterman Octavious McJunkin, who moved from the offensive line to defensive tackle, and junior defensive end Joseph Myles and senior tackle Reggie Thomas.
You have to get ready for district in a hurry," Gonzalez said, and once you get there, and with all the great coaches and players, it's fun, but it's tough. When your second game is the district opener, you're hoping to have questions answered, and the right people in the right places."
Cy Springs went 4-6 overall and 3-4 in 15-5A to tie for the fourth-and-final playoff berth last year. The Panthers missed the postseason on a tiebreaker.
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