Inside the Panthers
Last season: 8-4
Returning starters: 14 (6 offense, 8 defense)
Returning offensive leader
Austin Brown, Sr., QB: 245 carries, 1,499 yards, 21 TDs; 38-of-78 passing, 713 yards, 12 TDs, 7 INT.
Returning defensive leader
Austin Brown, Sr., Safety: 78 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries.
Austin Brown, Sr., QB: "He's a motivator, a leader on the field and in school," coach Jim Pickett said. "He's been to a lot of camps and worked with a lot of college coaches over the summer."
He's got next
Brett Brinkley, Sr., HB/DB: "I can count on him to teach the young kids and bring them along," Pickett said.
The Times' breakdown
Russ Radtke is gone and new coach Jim Pickett, a 21-year fixture in the program, has 61 players out including 14 starters and 31 letter winners. Everyone knows what QB Austin Brown and HB/DB Brett Brinkley mean to the team, but there could be other surprises as the Panthers shoot for their ninth consecutive winning season. RB Justin Green, a Las Vegas move-in, was the MVP of his high school squad. OT Ben Parish has been moved to TE and is catching everything thrown at him. TE/WR Joey Golub and WR Brinkley should finally give Griffith a worthy passing attack. They accounted for nine of the team's 12 TD catches a year ago. Baseball standout Kyle Buikema will back up Brown at QB and share kicking duties with Steven Sharpe and Jordan Gonzalez. DL Javon Bell and Justin Harris bring size and strength. LB Preston Nelson hopes to top his 77 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries last season.
— Al Hamnik