Panthers to rely on a key core of players

07/14/2014 3:14 PM

07/14/2014 3:15 PM

The middle of July truly represents the dog days of the summer. They don’t seem like they’re going to end. But what we quickly forget is that we’re inside of a month before fall workouts starts for the 2014 football season.

Colleyville Heritage and new coach Darren Allman will have a lot of work to do. By the time the season starts Aug. 29 at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene against Abilene High, Allman and his staff must identify five key players who can extend the program’s playoff streak to eight consecutive seasons.

Here are the five players The Courier believes will make the greatest impact.

QB Clayton Oliver/Trevor Anderson: The seniors are going into the summer pretty much deadlocked for the starting position. If Oliver has an edge, it isn’t by much. Consider that they will have 14 work days before the opener before the starter is known.

It probably would not be a good thing if a decision isn’t made and a rotation starts. That doesn’t bring continuity to an offense. But whoever wins the job better hold onto it, because his leash will be short. But he also needs to be the one who everybody on the roster will get behind.

RB DeMarco Corbin: If anyone is poised to put the past behind him and let his athleticism really develop, it’s Corbin. The 6-0, 200-pound senior has been dogged by injuries the last two years. Now, it’s his time. The Panthers really need for him to be one of the go-to players on this team.

He’s probably going to be asked to be a 1,000-yard rusher and possibly a 400-yard receiver. His hands are very good. Colleyville Heritage’s rushing offense has been ineffective the last couple of seasons. But with Allman’s approach, Corbin has a chance to put it back on track.

S Ryan Phillippe: The real question is if Phillippe is ever going to come off the field next season. His skill set is so versatile that Allman is going to have to use the senior on both sides of the ball. Phillippe is a hard hitting safety who just has a knack for getting around the football. He had four interceptions in 2013 and well over 100 tackles.

He also averaged a mind-boggling 41.7 yards per reception (6-250) and scored touchdowns on four of those. His role should expand this year. Phillippe scored nine touchdowns in 2013, so you can see that five of those came in the return game and on defense. He’s just a playmaker.

NG Jason Williams: A defense’s physical tone is set by the one at the point of contact. That is where this senior has to be the one to be able to do that. Barring anything unforeseen in fall camp, the staff is trusting Williams to deliver.

With a district that features already three physical teams in Euless Trinity, Carroll and Coppell, the Panthers are going to be able to have to match that. Not an easy task for a program that has so much ground to make up.

S Jared Crouch: Crouch is going to be another version of Phillippe for this team. He has the hands to play on both sides of the ball.

Crouch will pick up for this program where Jacob Sisk left off. While limited, Crouch enjoyed a big spring season.

Next week, we’ll feature Grapevine’s top five players who will make an impact.

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