The Paradise Panthers hope to turn around their fortunes in 2014 after going 1-9 last season.
The Panthers’ first opportunity to get off on the right track is Friday as they head to Ferris to play Red Oak Life.
“You always want to win that first game and get things rolling,” said coach Scott Broussard, who begins his second season in charge of the Panthers. “But the biggest thing is improving. We’ve got five games to get better for district.”
Red Oak Life is coming off a 2-8 season but returns several big offensive threats, including running back Kaine Blake, who ran for 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Receivers Nick Forde, Preston Gase and Richard Treviso combined for more than 1,500 yards receiving.
“They return a lot of kids and have good team speed,” Broussard said. “They are very athletic.”
The Paradise coach points out that the Panthers’ offense will need to sustain drives and help the defense out.
“We don’t want their offense on the field,” Broussard said.
The Panthers will look to control the ball with their ground attack, featuring Austin Hogan, Chris Hill and Darian Sotomi. Kash Helton will be making his first start under center.
In the scrimmage against Grapevine Faith, Broussard said the offense showed improvement.
“We moved the football on the ground and the passing game improved,” he said. “The biggest thing offensively that stopped us was penalties.”
Broussard added that the Panthers also fumbled once near the goal line.
“We feel good. There is still a lot of room to improve,” he said.
PARADISE (0-0) AT RED OAK LIFE (0-0)
7:30 p.m. at Yellowjacket Stadium
Paradise: Harris Rating 169
Notable: Kash Helton will make first start at quarterback.
Red Oak Life: Harris Rating 165
Notable: The Mustangs’ top 3 returning receivers combined for 1,500 yards last year.
Harris line: Paradise by 3