Best foot forward

Published 9:41 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Class 4A, Region 3

Coach Brad Abbott (26-18 in four seasons at Jemison)

Last year 6-4 regular season, 5-2 region, lost to Trinity in first-round playoffs

Key losses QB Jordan Mims, FB T.J. Robbins, WR Andy Hague, C Josh Cork, G Chad Smith, LB Zane Broadhead


8/28 at Chilton Co.

9/5 at Southside-Selma*

9/12 Calera*

9/19 at Livingston*

9/26 Chelsea

10/3 Dallas Co.*

10/10 at Greensboro Public*

10/17 Bibb Co.*

10/24 at Holt*

10/31 at Shelby Co.

* region game

Key game Calera. If Jemison can get by the Eagles in Week 3, a matchup with Bibb County High later in the season could decide the region champion. The non-region slate is tough with three good Class 5A teams.


2- Jason Anderson-Sr.

3-Merrell Morrow-Sr.

4-Javea Swindle-Fr.

5-Isa Bentley-So.

6-Jesse Taylor-So.

7-James Northcutt-Sr.

8-Eric Argo-Sr.

9-Christian Briscoe-Sr.

10-Jamie McKenzie-Sr.

11-Marvin McKenzie-So.

12-Scott Clements-So.

15-William Jones-So.

16-Zachary Kaylor-So.

18-Alex Long-So.

19-Trevon Bryant-Fr.

20-Jacob Chapman-Jr.

23-Daryn Morris-So.

24-Patrick Sims-Jr.

25-David King-So.

27-Cameron Bryant-So.

29-Joshua Bivens-Fr.

30-Terrance Taylor-Jr.

31-Brent Childress-Fr.

33-Nathan Eggers-Sr.

34-James Smith-Fr.

36-Dustin McDaniel-Fr.

37-Cameron Elkins-Sr.

40-LeChristopher Mims-Fr.

43-Jarrett Hutchison-So.

45-Jerin Killingsworth-So.

46-Brandon Arrington-Fr.

47-Bradley Arrington-Fr.

48-Robert Savell-So.

49-Joshua Moore-So.

50-Eric Laister-Sr.

51-Brandon Scalf-Fr.

52-James Ray-Jr.

53-Kristopher Lowrey-Sr.

54-Andrew Oaks-Sr.

55-Teddy Poe-Sr.

56-Trenell Bryant-Fr.

57-Justin Mims-Sr.

58-Seth Earnest-Fr.

59-Darius Smith-Jr.

60-Jackson Mims-Fr.

61-Justin Dennis-So.

62-Guy Freeman-Fr.

65-Bronson Langston-Sr.

66-Thomas Majors-So.

67-Mason Bolton-So.

68-Jeffery Childress-Fr.

71-Hunter Cowart-So.

72-Justin Nemec-Jr.

73-Terry White-So.

74-Frank Sciandra-So.

75-Garrett Carden-Sr.

76-Justin Stafford-Fr.

77-Matthew Nolin-So.

79-Roger McFarland-Fr.

80-Nicholas Campbell-Fr.

81-Jared Thompson-So.

82-James Scalf-Sr.

83-Paul Levering-Fr.

84-Taylor Anderson-Sr.

85-Chase McCary-Fr.

86-Jason Snow-Jr.

87-Freeman Hackett-Fr.

88-Bradley Sturm-Sr.

89-Willie Banks-So.

90-Jacob Jones-Fr.

92-Lukas Henderson-Fr.

99-Terrence Peeples-Fr.

Key player Jamie McKenzie, safety. Not only is the captain of the defensive backfield starting for the third consecutive year, but McKenzie also plays a crucial role on special teams.

With a new quarterback and four new offensive linemen, 2008 could be seen as a transition year for Jemison. But with talented players at the ball handling positions and depth along the defensive front seven, these Panthers are focused on winning now.

The key to that goal might be getting off to a better start than last season. Jemison lost four of its first five games last season before winning five in a row.


Senior Eric Argo has been handed the reins to coach Brad Abbott’s pass-happy offense from the departed Jordan Mims.

“He’s progressing well,” Abbott said of his quarterback.

Argo played the position as a freshman and sophomore but

saw time as a free safety last season. Abbott said he thinks that experience has helped Argo understand what defenses are trying to do.

Running backs

Senior Merrell Morrow will be the featured back after rushing for more than 700 yards

and 10 touchdowns last year. Sophomore Isa Bentley will provide depth, and senior Nathan Eggers will con

tribute from the F-back position, but Abbott said Morrow needs a complimentary back along the lines of T.J. Robbins from a year ago.

“We’ve got to have someone else step up,” Abbott said.


Abbott said junior Patrick Sims might be the team’s most improved player since last year.

“He brings a work attitude every day, and it shows,” Abbott said.

Also, look for senior James Scalf to catch a fair share of passes from his tight end position.

Offensive line

Teddy Poe is the only starter back from an offensive line that last year paved the way for Morrow and offered protection for Mims.

“We’re very young and inexperienced there,” Abbott said.

Senior Kris Lowrey is likely to get the nod at left tackle. Lowrey is learning the position after primarily playing defensive end last year. He will likely be one of only a handful of Panthers that play both ways.

“They’ve got to be football smart to do that,” Abbott said. “He has to play offense first. He is an offensive tackle that we’ll reward by letting him play defensive end.”

Defensive line

This could be the Panthers’ team strength.

“That’s actually the only place on the team we have depth,” Abbott said.

Senior Bronson Langston has made the move from defensive tackle to defensive end and will line up opposite senior Eric Laister. Defensive tackles

Garrett Carden, a senior, and Darius Smith, a junior, are game changers.

“We always knew, even when he was

back in ninth grade, that he was going to be a good player for us,” Abbott said.

Seniors Taylor Anderson and Kris Lowrey will also play.


Abbott points to five linebackers that will play critical roles this year. First on the list is senior Christian Briscoe, who will have to step into the leadership role left by the graduation of Zane Broadhead and Brandon Jackson. Cameron Elkins, Hunter Northcutt, Terrance Taylor and Tyler Snow will see playing time alongside Briscoe.


Though inexperienced for the most part, there is significant talent in this group. Senior Jamie McKenzie is a defensive stalwart. Junior Jacob Chapman and freshman Javea Swindle will man the corner positions, and sophomore Jesse Taylor will take the field at the other safety spot. Bentley will also see time at corner. No mat-

ter which four players are on the field, watch for this unit to display amazing speed.

Special teams


Panthers excelled here last year, as McKenzie and Morrow combined to average more than 35 yards per kick return last year, and Briscoe ran punts back at an 18-yard clip. Jemison could add to its special teams skill if Justin Nemec kicks as well as he has in practice. Sims will handle the punting duties.