ST. GEORGE — After losing some of their best and most versatile players, the Pine View Panthers are looking to achieve just what they did in the 2019 season, a Region 9 championship.
With an all-star cast on their 2019 roster, including the likes of Izaiah Moten, Macloud Crowton, Jacob Nobili, Daylor Rymer, Michael Moore and company, the 2020 Pine View roster will have a brand new look.
While there may have been a fair amount of turnover for the Panthers, their players and coach Raymond Hosner are ready to step up this season.
“I always say great leadership forces the younger guys to want to be the older guys,” Hosner said. “When you build a program like that, it’s awesome because you see these kids want to emulate the kid that just graduated. The seniors, they set such a good precedent and relationships that they help them to get ready for that following year.”
Senior Brennan Shaw added that he feels like the Panthers are further along at this point than they were last year. His teammates that may not have played as big of a role last season have come prepared and ready to go.
Running back Enoch Takau and quarterback Brayden Bunnell echoed a similar sentiment. Takau said players are stepping up to fill the gaps, and in doing so there have not been many setbacks for the Panthers.
“You’ve got guys that watched last year and they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s my time. I’m going to make some plays,'” Hosner said. “These kids, they saw what was taking place last year and now they want to be able to get some picks, they want to make some hits and they want to make some big plays.”
As for Bunnell at quarterback, Crowton put up some big numbers for the Panthers. Bunnell and Hosner both said Crowton has been helping out during the summer and coaching Bunnell to some extent.
“He set the bar high, but he’s just been a good coach to me and a good leader,” Bunnell said. “I just look up to him.”
Hosner spoke to his new quarterback’s work ethic, adding that he has been throwing with Bunnell throughout the offseason. While the pandemic put a hold on that work, Hosner continued to harp that the younger kids are ready to produce and step into the roles that their big name seniors had last season.
Takau is a player that has been established. He was third in total carries last season and was a solid running force. He’s looking to build on that going forward.
“It’s kind of a shocker that it’s my last year, but I feel strong and confident with these linemen and this team, especially with the O-line stepping up,” Takau said.
When asking the group of players what the goal was for this season, Shaw was short.
“We’re going to win a championship this year,” he said.
Hosner said the team has the work ethic to show they want to be champions, adding they deserve to be champions because of it.
When talking about how they may be viewed as a middle of the road team in Region 9 this season, Takau said teams will just have to come and watch.
“They’re going to have to come and watch because I feel like this team is going to hit stronger and harder, we’re going to get after it and we’re going to put up a fight,” Takau said.
The Panthers are set to open the season against Ridgeline on Aug. 14 and then they have their home opener on Aug. 21 against Highland at home.
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