By ERIC VICCARO
Since dropping down to 6-man football, Saint Jo High School has qualified for the playoffs in five of six seasons.
However, the Panthers have only one playoff win to show for their hard effort.
Head Coach Chad Tallon and his senior-laden team have loftier goals this season, but a tough district slate awaits the Panthers.
“It’s a tougher district than we have been in the past,” Tallon said, “but, that’s going to make for some better football.”
Newcastle joins District 9-1A Division I this season, with new coach John Eli taking the reign of the Bobcats alongside veteran quarterback Ryan Hardin. During the 2013 campaign, Hardin amassed 644 yards and 14 total touchdowns.
“Newcastle has made some deep playoff runs,” Tallon said.
Tallon said Bryson will have plenty of speed in the backfield with the running tandem of Ethan Chambers and Marc Shafer. Tioga enters University Interscholastic League play this season, after spending last year as an independent.
The district opener is Oct. 24 at Tioga, followed by a home clash with Newcastle and the Panthers finish the season on the road at Bryson.
The schedule features games with Montague County rivals Gold-Burg on Sept. 12 and at Forestburg on Oct. 3. The contest versus Gold-Burg will serve as the Panthers’ homecoming.
“It’s rivalry football,” Tallon said. “It’s good for our program and for the county that we play each other. These small communities get behind their kids and support them.”
Tallon said he wanted to get a variety of looks to defend during the August scrimmages. See more on this story and a complete Saint Jo schedule in the mid-week edition of The Bowie News.
Saint Jo Panthers