Home / Panthers hope great attitude translates into great season
Panthers hope great attitude translates into great season
It wasn’t a perfect offseason for the Panthers by any stretch of the imagination. Starr’s Mill likely lost junior tailback John Smith, who had rushed for 1,300 yards last season, for the 2012 season on the second play of the first full contact practice with a leg injury. Nobody was hanging their heads or giving up on the season though.
“We’ve been working hard and had a great summer,” said head coach Chad Phillips. “We have 118 players out there right now and we look forward to going out to the field every day. The players have a great attitude, are passionate about the game and it makes it a whole lot of fun.”
There are 34 seniors on the squad and they remember staring at what looked like a devastating loss and overcoming adversity.
In the Class AAAA semi-final game against Tucker in 2010, Zach Laskey went down with an injury early in the game.
“Somebody stepped up and we beat them,” Phillips reminded his players. “This season, somebody has to step up and play a larger role. The offense will have to pick up the pace.”
The offense will be led by junior quarterback Kyle Moseley.
“He did an exceptional job in the scrimmage against Sandy Creek,” Phillips said. “He made good decisions under pressure and showed a lot of poise against what will probably be the best defense we’ll see all season.”
Running the ball for the Panthers will be Gerren Smith Jr. with Mitchell Ray and freshman Dion Munerlyn getting some carries as well.
“Smith had a couple of good runs the other night,” Phillips stated. “The goal is four yards every play and he did it.”
Starr’s Mill has the benefit of a returning offensive line which will hopefully make things a little easier for Moseley and the tailbacks. On the line are Garrison Elliott, Nick Petry, Hayden Frey and Andrew Goorsky. Phillips felt like they did a good job with some pass protection against Sandy Creek. Joshua Roberts and Hayden Beyer will be among the targets at receiver for Starr’s Mill, while Ryan Nace will play some at tight end.
The defense struggled against a very fast and athletic Patriot offense.
“We need to improve and we did not tackle very well,” Phillips said. “It takes us a good quarter to adjust when we see speed like that. We need to improve on that.”
Phillips did see some good things from linebackers Luke Runyan and Seth White and also felt Evan Krug and Alex Ashley played well. Phillips expects good things from those players and the defense as a whole. Other players to watch are Joshua and Timothy Roberts and Anthony Stefanelli in the secondary, as well as Beyer, Luke Ossanna and Connor Dillon.
Punter Grant Aasen is an asset for the Panthers. “He really works at it and is a strength for us,” said Phillips. Austin Ingram and Daniel Rorick are working at kicker.
Starr’s Mill was 5-5 last year and they would certainly like to add another winning season into their history books. It may not be easy.
“We play in a tough region and every game is going to come down to who makes a mistake,” Phillips said. Sub-region game will be against Creekside, Northgate, McIntosh and Whitewater. The Panthers will also face Drew and Mt. Zion, Jonesboro from the other sub-region, and have non-region games against North Cobb, West Forsyth and Fayette County.”
“North Cobb and West Forsyth were playoff teams last year and Fayette County always has athletes.”
The 2012 season will be a challenge but the Starr’s Mill program doesn’t fear adversity. They put in the work and come ready to play every Friday. That’s what makes it fun for players, coaches and fans.