BIGELOW: Panthers in 'dogfight' for spot in 5-2A playoffs

Conference: 5-2A
Coach: Jeff Starks
’14 Record: 5-6 (3-4)

For the Bigelow Panthers, their season came down to the wire in Week 9 when the Panthers beat Cutter Morning Star for the final playoff berth out of the 5-2A.

“Injuries hurt us last year, but we made the playoffs for the fifth year in a row,” said Coach Jeff Starks.

The Panthers return several players with starting experience on offense, including senior fullback Steven Moorhead, junior running back Gabe Frey, senior wingback Keenan Hollins, junior receiver Josh Rose, senior tight end Grant Hill, senior tackle Trey Starks, senior guard Kavion Grider (a 501 Football Team honoree) and senior guard Tanner Shadell.

“Offensively we will be very explosive with a lot of returning skill guys,” Starks said.

Grider also starts on the defensive line at noseguard. He’ll be joined on the line by Hill. Shadell leads at linebacker along with Moorhead. Junior Justin Testerman made all-conference last year at free safety. Hollins is another returning starter in the secondary.

“Defensively there’s not much, if any, drop off from last year,” Starks said. “We will be thin on both lines. Our team strengths would be leadership, team unity, skill guys, and our team weakness is numbers. We will have to play a lot of young guys.

“The conference gets tougher each year. Every team will be better, and it will be a dogfight for playoff position. Our goal is to always compete for a conference title.”