Panthers look to new faces for plays

Posted Monday, Jul. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Panthers football team has some big shoes to fill next season, but that presents an opportunity for junior-to-be running back DeMarco Corbin to show his stuff.

Colleyville Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas threw for 4,154 yards and 46 touchdowns last year in his senior season. Both marks easily eclipsed the best in school history, which includes those of Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder.

Thomas, who is headed to play football and baseball at Oklahoma in the fall, led an offensive attack that helped the Panthers to an 11-2 record. Though they fell to a tough Waco Midway team 54-44 in the Class 5A Area-round playoff game, it was the most successful season in years.

And it wasn’t just Thomas who was responsible for Colleyville Heritage’s success. Graduated is standout tailback Connor Davis, a three-year letterman. Wide receivers Nathan Crouch, who had over 1,000 yards receiving, and Daniel Farrington are also gone.

In fact, just three starters on offense and three on defense remain from last year’s team.

“The biggest thing that’s different this year is we have a lot more question marks as far as people that have actually done it on Friday nights,” Fuller said. “Last year we had a quarterback that started every game the year before. We had several receivers that had a lot of experience and also on the defensive front.”

So how does Fuller plan to replace the departed offensive firepower, headlined by Thomas? He doesn’t.

“We can’t replace him with Cody Thomas, that’s for sure,” Fuller said. “Our system will be the same. But it’s like having a grocery store. Depending on what you want to make, take these ingredients and do this. We have a great running back in DeMarco Corbin, who was a sophomore last year and scored 12 touchdowns and only played every third or fourth series.”

This year, Corbin’s role will be even bigger. The junior will be an integral part of the ingredient Fuller would like to add more of this year: a running game.

It wasn’t as if the Panthers’ running game was a weakness last year; they simply had one of the state’s top quarterbacks under center. But now that Thomas is gone, the Panthers would like to be more balanced offensively.

An increase in the role of the running game should also help Colleyville Heritage’s new starting quarterback, whoever that may be. Right now it’s a two-horse race between senior Griffin Pickler and junior Trevor Anderson for the starting job.

“There’s no clear-cut number one guy,” Fuller said. “We’ll just see which one we’re more effective with.”

Colleyville Heritage’s schedule won’t be very friendly to whoever is named the starter. On Aug. 30, they open their season against Duncanville. Next on the schedule are Denton Guyer and Flower Mound, before the Panthers begin district competition against Trinity Sept. 27.

“It’s a tough stretch,” Fuller said. “They won’t care that we’re inexperienced. We’ve got to come to play.”

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