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Spring Game Observations

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The Panther offense, in White, scrimmages the Panther defense, in Garnet.

A few hundred Panther faithful grabbed a seat to watch the defending AA State Champs buckle their chin straps for their annual “Garnet and White Spring Game” Thursday evening at Hite Stadium-Dennis Botts Field. The sun-splashed afternoon saw big plays, turnovers, touchdowns, big hits and gave fans just enough of a football fix, to hold them over until August.

Bryce Jackson led the white team at quarterback for most of the scrimmage. Sophomore JD Moore, who seems to be touted to be the back-up to Jackson this season, came in and showed some flashes of brilliance. JD Moore has been blessed with uncommon speed. In other words, he’s really fast. He’ll definitely play a factor in the success of the Panthers this season. The play of the game was when Jackson dropped back to pass, scanned the field, checked his first, second and third options and finally decided to sling the ball down the left sideline. LeBron “Dooley” Sanders, who appeared to be covered as the ball was in the air, kicked his speed into another gear, separated from the defender, made the catch, and strolled into the endzone.

That wasn’t the only big play of the game. Junior Rapley flashed his speed and juke-ability with a 40 yard touchdown scamper. A-Bone backfield teammate Courtney Jackson was unable to play in the Spring Game because of an injury he suffered while running track. He should be 100% by summer camp. Dominick Washington raised some eyebrows while toting the rock Thursday evening as well. Washington runs with a bruising toughness that was absent on last years championship team. He’s going to be tough to tackle this fall and will add another element to an already potent offense.

The defense was led by Charles Holback and Tyrese Paul. The two senior linebackers play fast and instinctive. They are physical tacklers and will direct a defense that was down right nasty last season. The defensive line is anchored by Don Don Jackson, who regularly plays in the opposing backfield. He’s a load to block and will eat up a lot of space and draw a lot of attention from opposing offenses this coming season. The kickers put on a show as well. Dylan Beauford was steady as usual. He nailed his PAT’s and connected on 30+ yard field goals in the kicking portion of the scrimmage. Newcomer, Ross Cobb showed off a booming leg as well. His kickoffs were regularly teasing the endzone stripe.

All in all it was a successful Spring Game for the Panthers. There are areas to improve on, but that’s what spring is all about. This team is fast and talented. There are some All-Region, even All-State caliber players that will be wearing the “A” this season. It should be a fun ride.

Check back with atownpanthers.com often, as well will be unveiling a post-spring depth chart early next week. Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend. God Bless and Go Panthers!