McBee football preview

MCBEE – Perhaps no team was a bigger surprise in 2014 than McBee. The Panthers improved by seven games en route to an 11-2 record and made it all the way to upper state finals in Class A Division I.

With 16 returning starters this year, expectations are even higher around the program. The Panthers top two running backs, Dashonnell Wright and Jordan Fair, both were underclassmen and led a dominating ground game. McBee’s defense surrendered just 15 points per game. It all added up to give the Panthers their first winning season since 2009 and an unbeaten record in Region 3A.

“It’s one of those special seasons from last fall, and the kids got excited and established a little identity, calling ourselves the ‘Red Storm” and that kind of thing,” said coach Charlie Poole, who was named the Blitz Coach of the Year. “We’re just looking to build on that success we had from last year.”

But Poole knows success is not a guarantee no matter how much talent returns. And he’s warning his players not to get complacent.

“The community’s expectations are high, our expectations as a staff are high,” Poole said. “We’re just trying to make the kids understand that just because it happened last year, it’s not going to automatically happen again this season. It’s all about the mindset.”

The Panthers’ biggest question will be the right side of the offensive line, which has to be replaced.

OVERVIEW

LAST YEAR: 11-2, 4-0 Region 3-A

PLAYOFFS: Lost to eventual state champion Christ Church 35-8 in the upper state finals

RETURNING STARTERS: 8 offense, 8 defense

SEASON OPENER: Aug. 21 vs. Lakewood

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