Prep football's Tour of Brevard: Heritage Panthers on the radar

Prep football's Tour of Brevard: Heritage Panthers on the radar

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Prep football's Tour of Brevard: Heritage Panthers on the radar

By

PALM BAY

The Panthers aren’t a surprise anymore.

Heritage High’s football team surpassed expectations last year, winning 10 games, including the school’s first playoff game.

Now, in a new district with a plethora of experienced returnees, the sky appears to be the limit for the Panthers.

Yet, Heritage coach Ajay Ulmer isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s a new season, and we’ve explained to the kids that we’ve got to create our own new identity this season,” Ulmer said. “We can’t live off of what we did last year. We have a great nucleus of kids coming back, so they expect big things. When we were at camp, you know our kids spoke about building on what we did rather than just living off it.”

The reasons for optimism are clear.

Heritage returns 14 starters, including starting quarterback Clinton Moxam, running back Josh Gaines and two-way standout Dedric Witherspoon.

In addition, the Panthers have added Josh Harden, who ran for more than 1,000 yards a year ago at Holy Trinity. With both he and Gaines just sophomores and already two of the most productive backs in the county, the Panthers’ running game should be lethal.

That’s not to say there aren’t spots open for competition though, according to Ulmer.

“We’ve only really lost six starters, but we’re going to need guys to step up and create some depth for us in our special teams and our offensive and defensive line,” he added.

The path to a district title appears clearer despite being a part of a new seven-team district that includes cross-town rival Bayside but doesn’t include traditional power Palm Bay, which has moved down to Class 5A.

Another challenge the Panthers will face in 2013 is a heavy travel schedule, as they will travel to Eustis, Fort Pierce, Stuart and Port St. Lucie, the latter three forming more of a South Florida-based district.

Still, the two greatest challenges to Heritage appear to be from its cross-town rivals.

With a 13-9 victory against last year’s 6A runner-up, Gainesville High, in Friday’s preseason game, the Panthers are showing signs they have arrived.

2013 Panthers Schedule

2013 Panthers Schedule

Aug. 30 at Eustis

Sept. 6 at Palm Bay

Sept. 13 ROCKLEDGE

Sept. 20 JENSEN BEACH

Sept. 27 OKEECHOBEE

Oct. 4 at Port St. Lucie

Oct. 11 at Ft. Pierce Westwood

Oct. 25 at South Fork

Nov. 1 BAYSIDE

Nov. 8 SEBASTIAN RIVER

2012 Results (10-2)

2012 Results (10-2)

at Space Coast W, 45-0

Titusville W, 48-7

Harmony W, 45-0

at Port St. Lucie W, 28-10

Satellite W, 34-6

at Eau Gallie W, 27-7

at Bayside W 23-21

Melbourne W, 39-6

Palm Bay L, 7-6

at Melbourne CC W, 55-14

at Sebastian River W, 29-0

at Palm Bay L, 21-14

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Prep football's Tour of Brevard: Heritage Panthers on the radar
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