Though it counts on the record, Michael Wright prefers to forget his first season as the head coach at Pinewood Prep. The Panthers finished with an 0-10 record last fall but Wright saw a lot of positives amongst the disappointments.
"The kids we had last year, they never quit and we lost a few really close games that maybe we should have won," said Wright. "I got here so late last year. We had a very limited spring and summer together. We really struggled to put it all together."
Wright feels the Summerville school can be much more competitive in 2014 despite some key losses in personnel. The No. 1 reason is familiarity.
"I've been here a whole year with these guys now and I know the work these kids have put in," Wright said. "I feel a lot better about our potential. We had a good offseason and we are going to be more competitive this year. I feel like we can have a successful season."
The Panthers took the biggest hit in terms of personnel losses along the offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line will be led by returning starter Grayson Charpia but there will be a lot of new faces around him.
Two of the top returning players are Andrew Latham and Leslie Redden. Latham is a workhorse fullback and linebacker that will rarely leave the field. Redden also works in the offensive backfield and will be a starting linebacker.
Quarterback Lewis Vaughan returns as a starter and should be a more consistent performer with a year under his belt. Steven Kennedy will factor as a defensive back and wide receiver and Michael Wright returns as a key receiver.
Expected to provide immediate help in the trenches are newcomers Josh Reynolds and Danny Higgins, according to Wright.
"The big thing for us will be development along the lines," Wright said. "We need some time to gel but if we can form a solid unit up front, I think we have a chance for real success."