Summertime blues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

The verdict is in: It’s not getting any cooler any time soon.

There’s not much football teams can do about that – they’ve a season to prepare for.

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Wading through high grass on a sweltering afternoon, the Southside Panthers focused on the task at hand to try to take their minds off the temperature.

“I think they’re probably kind of down right now because it’s been so hot,” coach Chris Raymond said Tuesday. “They’ve been concentrating more on the heat than football practice. But I try to get them to realize the heat ain’t gonna go nowhere.”

Other than that, everything is about as expected.

Raymond thinks his defense will be the strong point of the team this year, returning outside linebacker Kachaevius Jones and tackle Jessie Bell along with five other starters.

With the start of school, the team will be up to full numbers in practice and Raymond said he will have a better idea if what he has to work with.

While his players are getting conditioned to the temperatures, Raymond said he and his staff will do a “whole lot of teaching.”

They will also see how the battle for the starting quarterback job will shake up. Raymond said he has a 10th and 11th grader vying for the spot, and both have seen playing time before coming into this season.

Providing quality backups will also be an issue for Southside.

“We have depth, but we’re going to be young,” Raymond said.

As for making a return trip to the playoffs, Raymond seemed confident.

But if the team is to advance beyond the first round, more things will have to start taking shape.

And the guys that were leaders last year will have to keep their backs strong.

“I hope experience will carry us there,” Raymond said. “I’m looking for some good things, but right now I’m not sure yet.”