Marengo Panthers excited about new season

DIXON’S MILLS — A season after making the playoffs at 5-6, Marengo High is loaded and eager to begin another campaign.

The Panthers have a new head coach in E. Bernard Myrthil and will need to replace several starters including 2013 All-State player Jatevin Horn and fellow 1,000-yard rusher in quarterback Michael Lewis.

While the faces, and even the offense, will be different for the Panthers this season, the identity will remain the same. Marengo turns to a loaded offensive line as it tries to navigate its way through the most wide open region in Class 1A.

“We’re going to try to be consistent in our game plan,” Myrthil said. “Our offensive line is our read and butter. We should be able to control the clock. In 1A, you’ve got to control the clock.”

Myrthil spent last season as an assistant at Clarke County before working as the head coach the previous two years at Choctaw County High. He inherits a Marengo team that is big and experienced on the offensive front.

Behind that line, the Panthers will turn to a bevy of youthful skill players that includes a sophomore quarterback in Cordarius Pritchett and a freshman running back in Calvin Ferguson.

“Anytime you’re young, experience is the big thing,” Myrthil said, referring to the relative inexperience of a number of his 2014 starters. “We’ve got 12 seniors, so that should make up for some of the youthfulness. I think we’re going to lean on our upperclassmen to lead, but I don’t think our underclassmen are far behind.”

Myrthil’s team will head into this week’s jamboree contest fresh off a productive summer workout program that saw high attendance and a renewed spirit.

“We had a great turnout this summer,” Myrthil said. “We had a good 25 to 30 kids that were there religiously.”

While Myrthil’s hire came during the summer months and abbreviated some of the Panthers’ offseason program, the new MHS head man is not concerned about a lack of preparation for his squad.

“We got a month in,” he said. “We had some teams that got more than us, but we had a very productive month. The work we put in is going to pay off during the regular season. I really believe that.

The region slate includes Fruitdale, J.F. Shields, J.U. Blacksher, McIntosh, Millry and newly-formed Chickasaw.

The Panthers are set for a jamboree game in Linden at 6 p.m. Friday before opening the regular season Thursday, Aug. 28 when they host Choctaw County.