SEYMOUR, TX (KAUZ) - Our Training Camp Road Trip continues in District 5-2A Div. I with the Seymour Panthers. They're coming off a 7-win season, and with 15 returning letterwinners, they're ready for even more success in 2017.
Running back David Watson will be the key offensive weapon for the Panthers. He gained almost 1900 total yards a year ago and is a threat to go to the house from anywhere on the field.
"It helps out a lot, knowing he can just make plays out of nowhere and help us out," says senior H-back and linebacker Collin Gann. "We can rely on him pretty good on the offensive side."
The Panthers will rely on a mix of veterans and new players, but everyone has been pulling their weight so far over the summer and in camp.
"There's a lot more leadership this year," said senior placekicker Cain Schoonover. "We have amazing senior leadership this year, and leadership from the underclassmen."
"There's new kids coming up, quite a little bit," said Watson. "So we were all a little timid at the beginning but now it's starting to get better and we're starting to flow."
"I'm really proud of these guys and the work they put in this summer," said 4th-year head coach Hugh Farmer. "We're gearing up and I really think we're going to have really good senior leadership. And I look forward to seeing where those guys are going to take the younger guys."
The Panthers want to challenge Windthorst for the district title, but they know they have a ways to go, after a lopsided loss at the Trojans last year.
"We just need to raise our practice level to where we can be good enough to beat the people we need to beat," coach Farmer said.
"All of us were basically on the varsity last year," Gann said. "And we're kinda looking for that district title this year. But we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, and we're just taking it one game at a time right now."
A big change comes on offense, with no Barton in the backfield. For the first time in ten years, they're looking outside the family that has had the past 3 starting Panther quarterbacks in Blaine, Zach and Aaron. So far in camp, junior Cade Holden has had the majority of the work, but expect sophomore Nick Slaggle to also get a shot.
"He's just a different quarterback style in how he plays," said Gann of Holden. "Not to take any credit off Blaine, but [Holden], he can move around a little bit more and I think that will add another versatile weapon to our game."
"Cade Holden is who we're working right now," said coach Farmer. "And Slaggle's getting a lot of reps, so you've got a sophomore and a junior kinda vying it out for that starting spot."
"It'll add another threat to the team," Watson said. "Because like last year, the year before, teams haven't been worried about the quarterback running, but now he can run a little more."
On defense, the Panthers return Gann, who had over 140 tackles a year ago, to lead the linebacking corps. Without a ton of big guys in the back 7, he says they'll need to use strength in numbers.
"Just playing as hard as we can, allowing as few points as we can," Gann said. "Just playing as a unit, swarm-tackling the ball, and just getting after it."
"I expect us to go all out every play, 100 percent," said Watson. "Gang-tackle to the ball until the whistle blows."
The Panthers will open their season with a good matchup against the Electra Tigers on September 1st.
On Friday, we'll finish District 5-2A Div. I with the Windthorst Trojans.
Seymour Panthers 2017 Schedule
Sept. 1 vs Electra, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Quanah, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs Archer City, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Petrolia, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs Munday, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Hawley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Chico, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 20 vs Alvord, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 27 BYE
Nov. 3 at Olney, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 10 vs Windthorst, 7 p.m.*