BY THE NUMBERS
61- The percent of offensive production the Panthers bring back in 2015.
0- Playoff appearances in team history.
47- Average points per game allowed in five losses in 2014.
5-5, 1-4, 2A-5
Out-of-Door Academy W, 13-7
At Cambridge Christian L, 55-15
Citrus Park Christian W, 2-0
Canterbury W, 39-22
At Keswick Christian W, 42-41
At Indian Rocks Christian L, 42-8
Northside Christian L, 37-28
Carrollwood Day L, 48-35
Southwest Florida Christian L, 54-33
Shorecrest Prep W, 42-14
28 at Southwest Florida Christian
11 SHORECREST PREP
18 CARROLLWOOD DAY
25 at Northside Christian
2 at Out-of-Door Academy
9 at Trinity Christian Academy
16 SEFFNER CHRISTIAN
23 at Cambridge Christian
6 at Admiral Farragut
JAKE GEIS, sr., LB/OL
Geis, a transfer from Braden River, is a key addition to the Panthers' personnel. This season, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound heady senior should form a dynamic duo with Gerber at linebacker and help to plug running lanes. He'll also give the Panthers a much-needed boost on the offensive line with his sturdy frame. "He's a rocked-up strong kid with a yeoman's work ethic," Panthers head coach Allan Gerber said. "Geis has some God-given ability and should make a big impact on both sides of the ball for us."
The spread offense scheme Panthers have never huddled up in the school's 8-year existence -- Don't expect that to change. Unlike past Panther offenses, however, this one comprises an athletic towering tandem of receivers fused with a reliable running game that could surprise a lot of people. But the Panthers are amidst a quarterback duel with two inexperienced players in juniors Nathan Cunneen and Dominick Otteni. Add in a tough district that includes two teams who toppled the Panthers by a combined 53 points last season, and any expectations of reaching the playoffs for the first time in school history should be simmered.
NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM:
ZACK COOPER Jr., RB, Soph, and BRETT GERBER SR., LB
The Panthers success will primarily depend on the play of 5-foot-8, 181-pound senior running back Zack Cooper Jr. Last year this bruising back accounted for a whopping 44 percent of the Panthers TDs. He totaled 1,213 rushing yards and averaged 135 rushing yards a game with 16 total TDs. Head coach Allan Gerber knows his worth. "He needs to pick up where he left off for us to win games." But the Panthers driving force is do-it-all sophomore linebacker Brett Gerber, and he's no baby. The long and athletic 6-foot-3, 200-pound grinder, is the biggest, toughest and most versatile playmaker on the Panthers squad. Last year he posted a team-high 96 tackles, averaged 11 tackles a game with two sacks, eight QB hurries, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He also threw for 252 yards and rushed for 228 yards with three total TDs. His leadership is invaluable. "Gerber's the cornerstone of our team and needs to put the burden on his shoulders defensively," Head coach Allan Gerber said. "He'll also play some h-back, fullback and slot receiver for us. Let's put it this way, he went down to the University of Miami's camp this summer and raised some eyebrows."
THIN AT: Offensive Line
The Panthers are scary thin up front. Bradenton Christian only returns two offensive linemen. "We're very short on the offensive line," Head coach Allan Gerber said. ''Our tallest lineman is only 6-foot-2 and we lack depth."
DEEP AT: WR
Bradenton Christian is loaded with a rare set of towering dynamic receivers this season. Senior Burke Hill and sophomore Kevin Etienne are both 6'3 and their height is a luxury for the Panthers. "We've never had a pair of long and athletic wideouts like these guys," Head coach Allan Gerber said. "Hill is a track guy with a 4.5 forty and Etienne is a basketball kid with great ball skills. We're excited for what they give us."