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Martin seeks perfection, despite big losses

Martin seeks perfection, despite big losses

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Press Sports
Last season, Martin came within one win of having an undefeated season.
If the Panthers want to get that perfect season in 2012, they will have to replace a large eighth grade from last season.
The Panthers promoted 30 eighth-graders from a team whose only loss came at the end of the regular to Paris Inman, a team Martin has had problems beating in the past.
Head coach Mike Stigall knows this year’s team will be in rebuilding mold, but he says every year is a rebuilding year when he only has two grades to work with.
“We were 7-1, and that last ball game was a pretty tough one to swallow,” Stigall said. “We had a pretty good team last year. In middle school, every year you are rebuilding. We have new bunch of new seventh-graders coming up. So we will see how it goes.”
Last season’s group of eighth-graders had a lot of talent in it. Gone are starting running back Parker Beale, Dallas Callins at quarterback, Colby Ashmore at tight end, Dalton Turnbow, Collin Strickland and Boom Brown on the offensive line.
“That is a hard crew to replace right there,” Stigall said.
The Panthers are going to have to dig deep to replace the quality players from 2011. Stigall will be turning the ball-carrying duties over to eighth-grader Joe Perry. Heath Hester, another eighth-grader, will be joining Perry in the backfield, but it will be Perry who Stigall will have running the ball most of the time. Seventh-grader DJ Coffman will be seeing some playing time at running back as well.
Calling the signals for Stigall at quarterback will be eighth-grader McKinney Baker, who has shined at each practice.
“Nobody has come close to beating him out yet,” the head coach said. “Everything is still open right now, except for the one who has a job.”
Snapping the ball to Baker will be seventh-grader Kyle Hart. He will also be seeing duties on the defensive line for the Panthers.
The tight end position is still up for grabs. Tavin Holland and Brantley Baxter are battling for that starting job. Cameron Jones and Joshua Smith should be seeing most of the playing time at split end. Stigall says Jones will also see some playing time at quarterback.
The Panthers defense, which was a strong point of team last season, will have Brantley Baxter at linebacker along with Heath Hester and Perry.
“I think our defense will be OK,” Stigall said. “They should not be too bad, but I think our offense will be a little better.”
Stigall uses a wing-T offense and sometime uses the double-wing. In short yardage situations the power-I will come into play.
The defense is a base 4-3 with the 5-3 being thrown in to keep the opposing offenses honest. Coffman will be the nose guard in the 5-3 sets. Stigall says most of his defense will be zone-based with some man-to-man thrown in, but it will not be much.
“If we come up against a real good passing team, we will use the 4-3 and send four guys deeps in the passing area,” Stigall said. “We will drop the linebackers back into a passing zone against the good passing teams.”
The run for the playoff for the Panthers begins Aug. 21 at home against Milan, followed by another home game on Aug. 28 against Union City. Martin wraps up its regular season at Paris Inman in October. Published in The WCP 8.14.12


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