Bells Panthers 2016 Football Preview
Starters returning: 7/7 (O/D). 2015: 5-6
The Bells Panthers scored at a prolific rate last season, but they will have a new gunslinger in 2016, replacing one of the best in school history. One thing that won't change with the new quarterback, the last name.
"My other son, who will be a sophomore this year, Bryan," Bells coach Scott Ponder said.
Ponder's older son Derrick graduated in may. But the Panthers have 7 returning starters on offense, including wide receiver Hunter Hawthorne, who will try to make the young Ponder's transition easier.
"(Bryan) certainly won't be the player Derrick was as a senior, but he will be fine and able to handle the job, plug right in and go to work," Ponder said. "We're happy with the supporting cast. We expect to be a lot better in a lot of other positions. We expect this to be the best team we've had since we've been at bells."
The quick-pace of the offense means the defense has to pull extra weight as well. They are putting in the time needed to keep improving.
"It's the hard work and commitment," Senior DB Bruce Chartier said. "A lot of the other teams were more gifted than us, but we've worked a lot harder than them, which has brought us to a new level."
"I think that work ethic we have is going to push us over and hopefully lead us to a good run in the playoffs," Senior DB Maverick Priest said.
Behind their 8 senior leaders, the Panthers are confident in their abilities to bring home a district title.
"We expect to do good, succeed and work as a team throughout the year," Priest said. "When someone is down we are going to pick them up that's our job as seniors. We have high expectations for this year."
"I've learned it's a lot about heart, sweat and tears. Nothing is given to you, you have to work for everything you've got," Chartier said.
Bells begins its season August 26 at home against Era.