The South Medford Panthers were one of the biggest surprises to come out of Southern Oregon in the 2011 football season. South rose as high as number three in the state last year and played Sheldon in a battle of undefeated teams in the final game of the regular season. The Panthers eventually finished the year 9-2 after losing to Roseburg in the second round of the 6A Playoffs. That 9-2 record could be tough to match, but the Panthers are ready to take people by surprise all over again.
“I think we can go a far ways,” said wide receiver Adrian Garcia. “Maybe even better than last year. I know we had a good team last year but I’m pretty confident we can do the same this year.”
If South is able to duplicate last year’s success, it will have to go about it in a different way. The Panthers beat opponents through the air last year, thanks to the stellar combination of quarterback Jack Singler and wide receiver Matt Retzlaff. This year’s version of the Panthers may not have that some potency in the passing game.
“I’ve always tried to be a 50-50 guy on pass,” said Bill Singler, South Medford head coach. “I think obviously we’re at our best when we’re doing that. I think you’ll see us not lean so much on the pass as we did early last year. I think our running back position with Bowley and Casebeir and Phillips, you know, we got some guys that can run the football.”
The Panthers begin the 2012 season with a road game against West Salem on August 31st. South’s home opener is the following week against Westview.