Putnam City North got back to the playoffs last season after a two-year absence, and coach Bob Wilson will be asking a lot of young players to try to keep the postseason run going.
“We're young on both sides of the ball,” Wilson said. “But the kids are working hard and they're a fun group to be around. They just don't have a ton of experience.”
The offense returns one lineman, Nathan Lowery, and one receiver, Kaedyn Fuller. Otherwise, the Panthers are looking at a lot of new faces in starting roles.
Junior Chase Sparks will step into the quarterback job. Players like Dedrian Parmer and Logan Price are a couple of tall targets for Sparks in the passing game, both standing over 6-foot-3.
Price will also double as a linebacker, joining one of the team's top defensive players, Michael Wofford, in the middle of the defense.
Jaquary Banks could see time on both sides of the ball, especially in the secondary.
The Panthers were hit hard by injuries during the offseason, with two players expected to compete for starting jobs suffering torn ACLs. And another player broke his ankle shortly before camp opened.
“We're gonna be young anyway, but we've already lost a few kids, so you really feel bad for them,” Wilson said. “We're excited about competing this year,” Wilson said. “But we've got to keep everybody healthy. Not only are we young, but we're pretty thin, too.”