Tonight’s game marks the official start of the Brooks Dampeer era at Pell City. Dampeer was the offensive coordinator under David Shores, who resigned in April.
The Panthers defeated Thompson, 16-6 in their fall jamboree last Friday. Dampeer said he was pleased with what he saw from his team.
One of the big questions for the Panthers going into fall camp was the quarterback position. Pell City had to replace three-year starter Austin Martin who led the Panthers to a 7-5 record and a trip to the second round of the AHSAA Class 6A playoffs. Senior Jackson Williamson earned the starting quarterback position for the Panthers for the 2013 season. Last week, he was impressive as he ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown to Cody Roberts.
“I feel good about where we are, and I feel good about where we are going,” Dampeer said on Saturday. “Like every year, it takes a little while to mesh as an offensive line and as an offense you are a little different every year. It is going in the right direction. I am pleased and excited about what we have going.”
Dampeer has high expectation this season for his thunder and lightning duo of Damaurian Wills and Ira Burch.
“Damaurian Wills is a four-year starter,” Dampeer said. “At times he started his freshman year. He has a lot of experience; people always asked who is that big running back. He was solid for us last year and I don’t expect anything less of that this year. You can really see him taking on a leadership role in a good way like encouraging kids. Ira Burch, who missed some of the spring with a knee injury, is well-oiled and he is back to 100 percent. He is going to play a lot of things for us as he did last year. We expect a lot of things from him.”
Dampeer was also pleased with the defensive performance on Friday. Pell City held Thompson to two field goals.
Going into the season, Dampeer believed that his defensive line could be the strength of the team. The first year coach wants to see all 11 helmets approaching the football on defense.
“We are going to pride our self on running to the football with great effort and gang tackle –the scheme will take care of itself,” he said. “We want no big plays. We will bend but don’t break and get a three and out to get off the field.”
Hueytown fell to McAdory, 17-0 in their jamboree last Friday. The Gophers went 6-5 in 2012 and fell in the first round of the playoffs. Hueytown has several of their core players returning including their starting quarterback Robert Thomas. In his first season, he proved to be a dual threat quarterback that could get it done with his arm as well as his legs.
Last season, Pell City fell to Hueytown in the season opener, 35-34. The Panthers allowed the Gophers to score 29 unanswered points. Johnson threw for 267 yards and the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Hueytown leads the all-time series 3-0.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. from Pete Rich Stadium.
Contact LaVonte Young at lyoung@dailyhome .com. Follow him on Twitter @LYoung_DHSports.