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Princeton Panthers: 2013 football preview


Last year was a very good one for Princeton High football, and there’s plenty of reason to expect similar success in 2013.

In fact, one of third-year head coach Lee Wilkins’ minor concerns entering the season is that word’s already out that the Panthers are pretty good.

“I think we snuck up on some people last season,” Wilkins said. “I don’t think we’re going to be sneaking up on anyone this year.”

The quarterback-receiver connection of Jourdan Blake (6-1, 190) and Jakari Dillard (6-4, 195) will attract plenty of attention from opposing defenses. Dillard, who’s verbally committed to Texas Tech, is one of the more explosive offensive players in the area.

“We’re counting on (Dillard) big-time,” Wilkins said. Michael Bowers and Marcellus Hill will also be lining up at receiver for Princeton.

Senior running back Trey Jackson will do his best to keep opposing defenses for focusing too much on the pass. The Panthers will run a multiple offense, with an emphasis on spread, three-receiver sets.

Princeton’s offense won’t be an instant replay of last year’s however. The Panthers have a new offensive coordinator, Don Waddle, who worked with Wilkins at Red Oak.

Meanwhile, a big, physical defense should give Princeton’s offensive unit plenty of possessions.

“Obviously, defense is a strength for us,” Wilkins said.

Tristan Beadle (6-0, 240) and Payton Thompson will be counted on for veteran leadership on the defensive line. If big junior Quintrell Anderson (6-3, 215) can develop, the Panthers will once again present an impressive defensive front.

Justin Cullum (59 tackles) is a major presence at linebacker, as is Logan Teel. In the secondary, cornerbacks Jordan Blake and Colt Goen will provide the last line of defense.

If Princeton can avoid key injuries during a punishing regular-season schedule, the Panthers should enter the playoffs ready to make some noise at the area level.

Head coach: Lee Wilkins. 2012 record: 10-2, 3-1 in District 12-A, area finalist. Key players: WR Jakari Dillard, Sr., 610 yards, 11 TDs receiving; QB Jourdan Blake, Sr., (160-258-2, 108-9, 19 TDs passing, 1,046 yards, 2 TDs rushing); RB Trey Jackson, Sr.; DL Payton Thompson, Sr.; OL Tristan Beadle, Sr.


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