The opening weeks of football season have not been kind to Park Hill South. The Panthers started each of the past two seasons with back-to-back losses, and none of them were competitive games.
It should come as no surprise, in that case, what the Panthers have emphasized as the 2014 season approaches.
“There’s no doubt we need to get off to a better start so we can build on things a little earlier,” Park Hill South coach Mark Simcox said. “We finished well the last couple of seasons, but we’ve had too many ups and downs at the start and middle of it. We want to be more consistent.”
That consistency could start with senior quarterback Shaefer Schuetz, who enters his third season as the top option center. Schuetz has received a clean bill of health after missing a chunk of last season with injuries.
His experience may offset a young offensive line. The Panthers must replace all five of their starters there from last season, though senior Justin Weymuth was able to earn some regular playing time as a backup.
“I actually think we have some talent there, but they’re going to be really young, so they will probably be scared to death for a few games,” Simcox said. “But the past couple of years we’ve had to make some offensive linemen out of guys that didn’t really belong there. These guys are true offensive linemen.”
The offense will also spotlight sophomore wide receiver Jake Springer, who started every game at cornerback as a freshman last year. He will return to help the defense, along with lineman Connor Jones, who played nearly every snap last season.