Panthers returning core group for fall campaign

Posted Monday, Jun. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fossil Ridge didn’t have the type of season they’d have liked last year, but the upcoming football season has plenty of hints that the Panthers can be contenders for a playoff spot.

Although the Panthers went a disappointing 3-7 in 2012, head coach Tony Baccarini said there have been no remnant thoughts of what’s already behind them.

“In spring, we start from scratch,” Baccarini said. “We don’t look back at last year or dwell on it.”

Instead, Baccarini said the spring workouts are dedicated to looking at the personnel that will be filling the roster next season and contemplating any changes based on the talent.

The spring intra-squad game is behind them and the Panthers achieved one of their key goals.

“The main thing is to come out healthy with no injuries during the game itself,” Baccarini said.

It’s also good that Fossil Ridge got their work in, so that the spring game can be a fun event. Baccarini said they divided the team as equally as possible to make it competitive, including with the coaching staff.

“We have comparable players across from each other and split the staff,” Baccarini said. “We go hard every day, but don’t bang on each other.”

Many bright spots dot the Panthers’ lineup as varsity experience and talent are on both sides of the ball.

One of the keys for a solid defense will hinge on the senior season of defensive end Anthony Villalobos, a 6’3”, 250-pound standout.

Also on defense is cornerback Nick Foster to help anchor the secondary. Foster has already given a commitment to play at TCU after his senior campaign.

The offense will be run by returning QB Jacob Gnacinski, at 6’3” and 220.

Last season, Gnacinski threw for over 1,800 yards and ran for over 4oo.

Another defensive end of note is Sione Teuhema, who is a Texas recruit.

“The difference for this next year is that overall we’re a lot faster on defense,” Baccarini said. “We’ve worked hard in the offseason and we’ve seen the offense become a lot more mature.”

What injuries that have been seen have given rise to a silver lining.

“A lot of players got playing time to work to make us better in the long run,” Baccarini added.

Fossil Ridge will gather back together on Aug. 12 for the first practice, with 30 days to prepare for their first game at Grapevine in Zero Week.

The Panthers opted for spring workouts rather than two-a-days because of the additional meeting time, said Baccarini.

Fossil Ridge will also play host to Birdville during a scrimmage prior to the season kickoff.

“We’re excited about what went on this spring,” said Baccarini. “We’ll have the summer work and the fall will get here in the blink of an eye.”

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