Countdown to kickoff: North Crowley Panthers

Posted Friday, Aug. 22, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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North Crowley

District 4-6A

Last season: 0-10 (0-7 District 4-5A)

Key players: OL Kenyette King (6-0, 295), WR Rodney Stewart (5-11, 195), WR Avery Lewis (6-0, 187), LB Jon Hood (6-0, 195), DE Robert Brown (6-1, 315), WR Elijah Turner (5-11, 170), QB Given Tippins-Hill (6-3, 175), DB Marquise Hunt (6-0, 160), RB Tony Tunstall (5-8, 175), RB Dez Henderson (5-5, 150), DB Solomon Doyle (5-10, 175), DE Chase Coleman (6-3, 210).

The big picture: Coach Eugene Rogers collected school-issued equipment on the final Friday of the regular season in 2013. After going winless, it wasn’t a good feeling for the coaching staff or the players. Rogers said taking ownership of the season and getting back to work were top priorities the following Monday morning. Since then, the Panthers have gained weight, lost weight and added size, speed and mobility. Rogers said the first game against Grapevine can’t come fast enough. After a dreadful scoring performance last season, North Crowley has turned to new offensive coordinator Terrence Lewis. The Panthers averaged only nine points and 185.2 yards per game last season. The biggest improvement this year could be in the passing game where three returning starters at receiver have worked on their speed and route running. That’s been an opportunity for quarterback Given Tippins-Hill to work on his accuracy on intermediate passes, Rogers said. Tippins-Hill threw for 429 yards and one touchdown last season. “We’re going to run the ball, but if the opportunity to throw it is there, we’re going to take that and do it with more confidence,” Rogers said. On defense, interior lineman Robert Brown has dropped from 343 pounds to 315 and Rogers said the senior has drastically improved his mobility. Brown had 53 tackles and seven sacks last season.

Quotable: “I told the kids on that last day that we couldn’t waste any time. It’s just a situation where we had to take ownership for 0-10. We got the bad taste out right away and quit the blame game. We have the athletes and coaches to get the job done here. I know for everyone it’s wait and see ... but you’re going to see a different ballclub.” — coach Eugene Rogers

Notable: Inside linebacker Jon Hood was a regional qualifier in the 200-meter dash for North Crowley’s track team last spring. With speed, he’s able to move to the outside in certain blitz packages as well. — Kevin Casas

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