A Southside running back attempts to juke two defenders in a practice Monday at Southside High School. during a scrimmage.  The Panthers play a jamboree against A. L. Johnson Thursday night at Southside High School. The Panthers regular season opener is Aug. 29 against Selma, who plays a jamboree game Friday night at Keith.--Daniel Evans
A Southside running back attempts to juke two defenders in a practice Monday at Southside High School. during a scrimmage. The Panthers play a jamboree against A. L. Johnson Thursday night at Southside High School. The Panthers regular season opener is Aug. 30 against Selma, who plays a jamboree game Friday night at Keith.-- Daniel Evans

Southside prepares to take on A. L. Johnson

Published 10:13pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It’s official: Football is back.

Thursday night’s jamboree game between Southside and A.L. Johnson won’t actually count on either team’s win-loss record, but it does represent a moment in the year many in the area look forward to.

High school football season is underway in the Dallas County-Selma area and nobody is more excited than Panthers head coach Daniel Flowers, who is ready to see what his team’s on-field product looks like after hours upon hours in the weight room this offseason.

“Back in the spring, it was more about effort and running hard and running fast,” Flowers said when asked what he was hoping to see in Thursday night’s contest. “Now, it is about detail. I want our detail to be as close to perfect as possible.”

With the Panthers playing the only local jamboree game Thursday night and one of only a dozen or so around the state, Flowers expects opposing coaches to check in and see what challenges the Panthers might offer their team.

Knowing that, Southside isn’t likely to dive deep into its playbook.

“The point of a jamboree game is to do the base stuff that you do and do it well,” Flowers said. “We won’t open up our playbook. We are going to use only 25 percent of our playbook tomorrow night.”

Earlier this week, Flowers made the decision to go with sophomore Khamari Gibbs at quarterback over senior Chris Raymond, who will start at receiver. The decision was based mainly on Gibbs’ upside and Raymond’s versatility that will allow him to affect the game at other offensive positions.

“I consider tomorrow his first true start,” Flowers said of Gibbs, who did spend time at quarterback last season in relief of an injured Raymond. “Look for him to play the whole game. Usually we would swap back and forth, but he will play the whole game unless we go Wildcat or something like that.”

When asked what challenges A.L. Johnson might pose for the Panthers, Flowers said “the unknown” is what worries him. Despite playing A.L. Johnson last season, Southside isn’t sure what to expect from the Eagles this season without any film to watch.

Based on the physicality in some of the earlier practices this week, Flowers is confident his team is prepared to play.

“Practice was so intense [Tuesday].  It was probably the most intense practice we have had, probably since I have been here,” Flowers said. “The kids were so physical. There was no whining or complaining – it was all focus. I saw guys competing.”

With the most experienced and best physically conditioned team he has had in his time at the school, Flowers hopes Thursday night’s game is a step toward a banner year for the Panthers.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Southside High School.

Special teams will not be live, but the format will be like a normal game, with twelve minute quarters.

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