Second year-head coach David Shores hopes that his Panthers have improved after falling in last week’s fall jamobree.
“It has been good,” Shores said. “We had a lot of work to do after last Friday night. I hope we got a lot done, you will know with the product out there. I think it has been a good week. We utilized a lot more people in different positions and things like that. You don’t know it will pan out until you get into game situations.”
The Panthers fell to Thompson 37-14 in their fall jamboree last week. Pell City gave up 331 yards of offense in the first half. Thompson quarterback Trey Matherson threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers.
“I told the kids at the beginning that the one real bright spot is the fact that you guys played hard every quarter that you are out there,” Shores said. “We gave great effort, that was not an issue. There was an issue with execution and intensity when it came down to how we played. They played like a bunch of kids that have never played in a varsity game. That is exactly what we are this year. We got seven kids out there that have never taken a snap of varsity football, so that is how it looked. They need to grow up quick. It was sort of a baptism by fire for the kids that didn’t have that much experience. They got thrown to the wolves last week.”
Last season, Hueytown went 13-1 and fell in the semifinals of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs. The Golden Gophers lost a lot of talent off last season’s team including Jameis Wintson, who signed with Florida State.
“They are a very, very skilled football team,” Shores said. “They are very athletic, they are physical too. They are well-coached. Coach (Matt) Scott has been there for four years and he has a couple years on me as far as building a program goes. They have a lot of good players. They can spread you out and hurt you that way or they can line up and run it straight at you. They lost Jamesis (Winston) last year and a couple of other good players. Across the board they are young, they have two receivers that are sophomores, they have a few line backers and defensive backs that are sophomores. Other than that, they are very seasoned and they play it the way it is supposed to be played.”
Shores believes getting momentum on the offensive side of the ball is going to be vital if they going to leave Hueytown with a victory.
“I think we have to come out and establish something early offensively,” Shores said. ”We have to move the chains and see what works for us. Hopefully, we can get into some kind of rhythm. I think we can win the kicking game. I felt pretty good about our kicking game last week. Ryan Curran is our place kicker and he really did a good job last week. I think for the most part, we won the battle of the kicking game, but the other two phases we did not. We have to be sound in the kicking game again. We have to start fast on offense and play with confidence on defense.”
Kick off is set for tonight at 7 p.m. from Gilmore-Vines Stadium in Hueytown.