BIGELOW: Panthers lead with ‘unity’

Conference: 5-2A
Coach: Jeff Starks
’15 Record: 2-8

Injuries derailed the Bigelow Panthers in 2015, leading to a 0-5 start to the season, which the Panthers could not overcome in a very tough 5-2A.

“Last season was disappointing,” said Coach Jeff Starks. “Injuries took a toll on us. Justin Testerman, our quarterback, was injured in Week 2. We were never the same following his injury.”

Testerman returns at quarterback for his senior campaign. Junior Johnny Ussery will see time in the backfield at tailback, as well as serving as Testerman’s backup at quarterback. Senior Jacob Bradke provides speed at tailback. Senior Gabe Frey moves to fullback in Bigelow’s Wing T. Senior Ethan Davis — a 501 Football Team honoree — leads the offensive line after missing 2015 because of injury. Other offensive linemen include senior Austin Mayo and juniors Garrett Rose, Dakoda Burnett, Miguel Martinez, Hunter Jones and Clayton Davis.

Davis will play both ways as he will also start at defensive end for the Panthers. He’ll be joined on the defensive line by junior Noah McCollum (noseguard). Bradke and seniors Josh Rose and Blake Aloway fill out the linebacker spots. Testerman, Ussery, Frey and junior Brett Mumford project to the defensive secondary.

“Defense is usually solid,” Starks said. “We need to be more productive offensively. Team unity and work ethic are strengths. Our weakness will be an unproven line. The addition of Hector to the 5-2A makes things tougher. England and Conway Christian were both state semi-finalists last year.”