Senior bond may give Milton Panthers an edge

Senior bond may give Milton Panthers an edge

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Senior bond may give Milton Panthers an edge

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Milton High School senior football player L to R, Tristan Saterfield, Keith Waitman, Aubrey Williams, and Cody Hanks are looking to make a big impact on the field for the Panthers this season.

Milton High School senior football player L to R, Tristan Saterfield, Keith Waitman, Aubrey Williams, and Cody Hanks are looking to make a big impact on the field for the Panthers this season.

Few area teams had a hotter start than the Milton Panthers last season, who won their first four games.

But the season’s end was bitter for the Panthers, who fell in the closing seconds of a three-team shootout for the final playoff spot in District 2-6A.

Milton fields a “more experienced” group this year, and the Panthers seek to be more competitive in their district.

Milton will be led by a senior class of 20 Panthers who hold a “great bond” according to center Cody Hanks.

While 20 isn’t a huge number of seniors, it certainly isn’t small — and the amount of experience between the group is vast.

“In the past years, we’ve had a good group (offensive line) but we weren’t as close as we are this year,” Hanks said. “This group of seniors have been together since kindergarten … there might be a few new faces but the chemistry is great.

Milton High School's Head Coach Chafan Marsh talks with his players at the end of the team’s practice Tuesday morning. Area high school teams have returned to preseason training schedules Monday Aug. 1, in preparation for the 2016 season opener later this month.

Milton High School’s Head Coach Chafan Marsh talks with his players at the end of the team’s practice Tuesday morning. Area high school teams have returned to preseason training schedules Monday Aug. 1, in preparation for the 2016 season opener later this month.

Milton High School's Aubrey Williams, right, takes a few reps as quarterback during preseason practice Tuesday morning. Area high school teams have returned to preseason training schedules in preparation for the 2016 season opener later this month.

Milton High School’s Aubrey Williams, right, takes a few reps as quarterback during preseason practice Tuesday morning. Area high school teams have returned to preseason training schedules in preparation for the 2016 season opener later this month.

“We’re just looking forward to that first kick-off and putting up points on that first drive.”

The Panthers put up points rapidly during their hot start last year, scoring 31.75 points-per-game on their undefeated run.

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The Panthers expect to be able to score touchdowns in a variety of ways, as junior QB Aubrey Williams called the offense “more diverse” this season.

While two of Williams’ primary targets might be young (junior Cameron Shelton and sophomore Marquise McCroy), the duo holds plenty of varsity experience with both getting reps last season.

New and returning football players at Milton High School return to camp in preparation for the Panther's 2016 season.

New and returning football players at Milton High School return to camp in preparation for the Panther’s 2016 season.

“We always try to take what the defense gives us,” Williams said. “We can throw it all game or we can run it all game. This year I think we have a chance to very good and very dynamic on offense.”

Defensively, the Panthers will find strength and senior leadership in the secondary, with first-team all area safety Martavious Odom leading the way.

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Coach Chafan Marsh sees the area’s top two teams on Milton’s schedule this year, but feels his squad is eager to compete.

“At this point of the season, everyone is undefeated; no one has played Pine Forest or Navarre yet,” Marsh laughed. “Both of those teams are loaded, but there’s always room for us to edge our way up there.

“Our team is amped up. They are excited to get out there and I am excited for them. I want them to do well.”

Milton High Panthers

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

at Washington

7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2

Open

 

Sept. 9

Fort Walton Beach

7:30 p.m.

Sept. 16

Catholic

7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23

Pine Forest

7:30 p.m.

Sept. 30

*at Gulf Breeze

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

at Crestview

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

*at Navarre

7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21

Open

 

Oct. 28

*Pace

7:30 p.m.

Nov. 4

Arnold

7:30 p.m.

*Denotes 2-6A game

2015 results

(6-4 overall, 1-2 district)

Aug. 28 beat Washington 20-14; Sept. 4 beat Champagnat Catholic 27-20; Sept. 11 beat Fort Walton Beach 38-7; Sept. 18 beat Catholic 42-21; Sept. 25 lost to Pine Forest 30-23; Oct. 2 lost to Gulf Breeze 48-26; Oct. 9 beat Crestview 29-28; Oct. 16 lost to Navarre 35-0; Oct. 30 beat Pace 30-27; Nov. 6 lost to Arnold 51-43.

Last five years

2015: 6-4

2014: 4-6

2013: 3-8

2012: 8-4

2011: 4-6

Five players to watch

Pos.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Class

DB

Martavious Odom

6-3

190

Sr.

Skinny: The 2015 PNJ first-team all area safety returns for his senior season to lead Milton’s secondary. The ballhawk can quickly turn the momentum of the game with sure hands and an eye for interceptions.

Pos.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Class

C

Cody Hanks

6-0

280

Sr.

Skinny: The heart of Milton’s offensive line, Hanks is the spark to the Panthers team chemistry. Football all starts with the snap, and the Panthers are happy to have Hanks leading the way.

Pos.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Class

LB

Tristan Saterfield

6-0

210

Sr.

Skinny: Mr. Versatility for the Panthers, Saterfield creates contact both as a linebacker and running back. The senior is crucial for Panthers special teams and handled punting duties last year.

Pos.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Class

QB

Aubrey Williams

6-2

205

Jr.

Skinny: In his second year as a starter, Williams has matured physically and mentally during the off season. Look for Williams to continue to add to his leadership ability as he links up with a group of young receivers throughout the year.

Pos.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Class

OL

Keith Waitman

6-2

275

Sr.

Skinny: Waitman holds perhaps the biggest frame on Milton’s experienced offensive line. The senior has acquired offers from Southeastern University and North Carolina Central and will be critical in “moving the chains” this year.

13 schools in 13 days

Monday: Catholic Crusaders

Tuesday: Escambia Gators

Wednesday: Gulf Breeze Dolphins

Thursday: Jay Royals

Today: Milton Panthers

Saturday: Navarre Raiders

Sunday: Northview Chiefs

Mon., Aug. 15: Pace Patriots

Tues., Aug. 16: Pensacola Tigers

Wed., Aug. 17: Pine Forest Eagles

Thurs., Aug. 18: Tate Aggies

Fri., Aug. 19: Washington Wildcats

Sat., Aug. 20: West Florida Jaguars

Sun., Aug. 21: Super Seniors

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