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Staying on top

August 27, 2003

Homerville, Ga.-- It's impossible to have a better season than the Clinch County Panthers did last year. 15 wins, no losses and one single-A state championship. So rather than trying to out do last season's success, the Panthers just plan on duplicating it.

"There's very few people that can do that, that can reach that goal and stay on top and repeat it again next year. There's only a couple of teams out there now that have been able to do that," head coach Cecil Barber said.

And coach Barber will have plenty of able bodies to chose from to help the Panthers stay on top of class-A. Senior quarterback Joe Mingo is coming off a sensational junior campaign in which he accounted for 35 touchdowns and 2700 yards of offense.

"I feel more confident because I have more experience than last year. Last year was my first year starting. There's a little bit of pressure but I'm going to have to play hard like I did last year and try and do the same," Mingo said.

And as if Mingo isn't enough of a threat, senior running back Lorenzo Kelsaw is another highly touted recruit who thrives under pressure.

"I like that role, myself. I like a lot of people coming after me and making me play harder," Kelsaw said.

Cornerback B.J. Richardson and linebacker Jarvis Henderson are returning all-state players on a defense that brings back seven starters from last year's championship squad, but coach Barber isn't worried about a lack of numbers. The Panthers have 62 players on this year's roster, the most in school history.

"When I first took over the head football job we had 26 guys on this football team. We've continued to do a little better and get a little better each year with our numbers and that's what you want is to get a lot of participants out and a lot of kids enjoy it," Barber said.

And those new players can only hope that this year will be just as fun as last.

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