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Panthers go perfect in 7-on-7 play

The Georgiana Panthers’ offseason record remains spotless after a trip to Escambia County Tuesday to participate in a 7-on-7 event hosted by Flomaton High School.

The trip to the state line marked Georgiana’s second straight year of participation, though this year’s results were decidedly improved from 2016.

Georgiana head football coach Ezell Powell said that the participation and resulting success of the Panthers in various 7-on-7 competitions this summer has given the team more than an inkling of what will make them tick come fall.

“With losing so many players [from last season], you try to see who can you count on and who you can’t, and what types of playmakers you will have at the skill positions and what they can and can’t do,” Powell said.

“We’ve got to get an understanding of what most of our kids can and can’t do, and what situations we need to put them in to be successful.  It gives us an idea of what we can do in the passing game, and what we can do to put them in those positions to make them successful.”

The Panthers bested the hosting Flomaton Hurricanes, the St. Lukes Wildcats and the Florida-based Jay High School Royals.

Powell said that the talent and experience at key skill positions were the biggest reason for the Panthers’ success.

���It’s having really good skill kids to play at both sides of the ball at the quarterback, running back, receiver and secondary positions,” he added.

“It’s about understanding how we play our pass coverage defensively, and young men understanding coverage from an offensive standpoint and how we need to attack it, and being able to make plays in space.”

The true test for the Panthers is still to come.  Because 7-on-7 games don’t include offensive or defensive lines, it remains to be seen whether the Panthers’ potent passing game will transfer to the fall intact with the looming threat of a defensive line bearing down on them.

Georgiana’s Class of 2017 took with it a noticeable amount of size and experience from both lines, and Powell said that the opening weeks of fall camp would be vital toward ensuring that the team’s young linemen can improve alongside the skill players.

“As we get into the fall camp and we have a chance to really work the offensive and defensive line how we really want to, we’ll see how much that we’ll be able to do in the passing game with the young group that we have up front,” Powell said. “Sometimes you can do a lot, but if your offensive line can’t protect you to allow you to do it, you’re really just wasting your time.

“So we’ll have to figure out what this group of linemen are capable of doing and put things around them that they can be successful at.”