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Panthers struggle with lack of depth

With the first game of the season two weeks away, the Butler County Magnet School Panthers are still struggling with depth issues.

That problem goes hand in hand with head coach Shane Smothers’s concerns about the youth of his team, which is something they’ll be fighting all season.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys getting a lot more reps than they normally see, and we’ve got some actually competing for starting jobs,” he said.

While many schools are using fall jamborees to help prepare for the season, the Panthers won’t be taking part in one.

“Due to our numbers and the lack of participation we’ve had, we can’t take the chance of having a jamboree,” Smothers said. “Even if we lost an eighth or ninth grader, that’s big for us. That’s where our depth is right now.”

Part of the Panthers’ hope for the season lies in the younger players, and Smothers said they’re beginning to step up.

“The ones that we’ve got here have done what we’ve asked them to do,” he said. “We’re working to instill character and hard work. These young kids are working hard and loving it.”

“They’ve been our leaders during the summer, and they’ve upped the intensity of some of the older players,” Smothers added.