MAGNET COVE: Panthers riding offensive line

Conference: 5-2A
Coach: Ronnie Efird
’15 Record: 5-7

After starting the season with five straight losses, the Magnet Cove Panthers showed their resilience by winning four of their last five games to secure a playoff spot out of the 5-2A. The Panthers went to Earle as a 28-point underdog and won a first-round playoff game.

“It was the most frustrating and gratifying year I ever coached,” said Ronnie Efird.

The Panthers return nine players on offense with starting experience. Senior Gavin Porter takes over at quarterback after playing tight end a year ago. Sophomore Eli Dawson and senior Zach Dunlap (515 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015) fill out the backfield and Panther rushing attack. Two starters return at receiver: seniors Brandon Stovall and 501 Football Team honoree Zac Rednour (226 yards and four touchdowns). Junior Jayce Nitch projects to start at the other receiver spot. The offensive line returns intact: junior Carson Kennerly (center), senior Manuel Reyes (right guard), senior Mason Buckley (right tackle), junior Colton Edwards (left guard) and junior Hudson Wade (left tackle).

Kennerly, Reyes and Wade man the defensive line in Magnet Cove’s base 3-4 defense. Porter, Stovall, junior Tim Spiva and junior Trenton Barber defend the middle at linebacker. Nitch (corner back), senior Grant Herrington (corner back), sophomore Trenton Robinson (safety) and Rednour (safety) defend the secondary.

“Offense should be good with five returning offensive linemen,” Efird said. “Defense will need experience, but should be good. The 5-2A is the best since I’ve been here.”