LUDLOW – Turnover can be scary for a small-school football program. And while the Ludlow Panthers lose some key playmakers from last year’s team which finished 6-5 including a loss in the first round of the 1A playoffs, they have plenty coming back to contend for another winning season.
Last season marked Ludlow’s second winning campaign since 1998.
“The 2015 football season should be very exciting,” said head coach Rick Hornsby. “We have a group of underclassmen that worked very hard in the offseason. They are very dedicated to making themselves better players. We have good leadership in our senior class. The experience they gained should be a great asset for our program this year.”
The Panthers return six starters on offense and five on defense. The top rusher from last year returns in Jeremiah Martin, who had 663 yards and seven touchdowns. The top two receivers also return in Michael Camarena, who had 11 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns; and Trent Ledbetter, who had 10 grabs for 214 yards and one score.
Three senior starters return on the offensive line in Dalesean Holbert, Matthew Gibson and Jamin Garrett.
Camarena returns as a starter on the defensive line. Martin, Ledbetter, Justin Blackburn and Devlin Carter all return in the secondary.
Junior Chandler Booker returns as a wide receiver and defensive back. Juniors Jacob Holbert and Hunter Rahe return in the trenches.
Hornsby said receiving depth and defensive experience are the main strengths of the team. The Panthers will be inexperienced at quarterback and small on the lines.
“We should be very strong at the skilled positions,” Hornsby said. “We are small in numbers this year so we cannot afford to have a lot of injuries to key players.”
Ludlow hosts Newport to begin the season Aug. 21 and plays its first district game Oct. 8.
Aug. 21 – vs. Newport
Aug. 28 – at Bracken County
Sept. 4 – at Paris, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 – vs. Gallatin County
Sept. 18 – at Trimble County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 – vs. Williamsburg, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 – vs. Brossart
Oct. 8 – at Dayton
Oct. 16 – at Beechwood, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 – vs. Bellevue
All games are Fridays at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Follow James Weber on Twitter, @JWeberSports