Burdened by lackluster starts to the season over the last three years, Park Hill South has established a goal to come out of the gate with more edge in 2013.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
As luck would have it, however, the Panthers' schedule doesn't exactly lend much optimism. Park Hill South opens the campaign with a trip to Fort Osage, then plays host to Blue Springs. Both opponents played for Missouri state championships a year ago.
But if you're thinking the Panthers plan to adjust their early-season objective, you are wrong.
"If we can play well in both of those games and build on those first two weeks instead of having to spend time fixing things, we'll be way ahead," Panthers coach Mark Simcox said. "We haven't played very well to start the past couple of seasons. It would make a huge difference if we could start well."
Winners of seven games a year ago, Park Hill South picked the correct time to increase expectations. In Simcox's fourth year, seven starters will return to the defense, with six of the seven having started for two seasons.
Even better, the talent is spread across the defense. Bryan Robinson will lead the secondary, defensive end Robert Lane will guide the line and Austin Miller will man the middle.
"We don't necessarily have a ton of kids back, but the ones we've got back have really played a lot of good football," Simcox said.
Good experience also includes a portion of the offense. A year after setting a handful of school passing records, junior Shaefer Schuetz returns at quarterback. While his top receiver, Craig Scott, graduated, Nick Griffith appears ready to fill that No. 1 role.