Talking Sports: Northside rebuilding offense in spring

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PINETOWN — Coming off one of its best seasons in over a decade, Northside entered this spring period knowing it has to retool its offense a bit. Attacking motors like Jackson Midgette and James Barrow have graduated, as well as numerous others that drove the Panthers down the field.

There are players that showed potential a year ago, and with Matthew Marslender calling the shots, the offense should be fine.

Defensively, though, Northside will have plenty of experience. Cameron Cahoon and Parker Boyd will be two leading the front of the Panthers’ defense, while Marslender will hold down the back.

The spring period marked Northside’ first step toward building on its strong 2016 season. Here’s what head coach Keith Boyd had to say about the spring.


What the most productive parts of the spring have been:

“There are a lot of opportunities to work on the offensive side of the ball. We’re juggling things around on defense with what way we want to go. Offensively, with only having one starter returning out of the 11, it’s giving us an opportunity to really break everything down, look and see what we have and decide what directions we want to go to change things. There are a lot of working parts right now.”


What offensive positions have been more or less locked down:

“Matt (Marslender) is a great leader for us. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to be our signal caller. Other than Zack Griffin at center — he’s a lock as long as he continues to work hard. The other nine spots (on offense), we’re just trying to find guys who want to be here and want to work hard. It’s almost a full work in progress.”


When the last time Boyd experienced such a turnover in talent:

“When (this graduating class) was freshmen and sophomores. On the flip side of that, defensively, we have eight starters returning. We’ve got some size again. We’ve plugged some spots. We feel like defense is going to be ahead of offense. We lost (James Barrow) in the kicking game. We need to replace that. But we feel like defense will help us stay in games because we have experience on that side of the ball.”


What the excitement level was like in the spring:

“We’re excited. We feel like we have some talent. It’s just that the talent isn’t experienced. We’re trying to build confidence in what they’re doing. You don’t really know football until you start hitting and popping and finding out who will make contact with other people.

“When we line up across the front, we like our size. We like what we see in the backfield. It’s just not experienced. We’re just going to have a lot of reps.”


What the goals were for the spring:

“We’d like to have our base offense in. We’ll throw some pass plays in there — run some routes, see how the quarterback throws it, see how elaborate we can be with the passing game. We’re not going to change a whole lot. We feel like our personnel fits what we’re going to do. Our offense will be basically the same. We don’t have the spread personnel.

“We like our system. We like what we do. It worked for us last year — really, the last couple of years. We’re just going to tweak it, of course, but we like what we see.”


How the Panthers already look the part:

“We have a lot of size and strength. We’re actually a little bigger up front than we were last year. We’re just inexperienced. Our size and strength up front, we’re going to look like a football team. Are we going to play like a football team? It’s just experience. I hope it’s going to be a work in progress like it was last year, then we’ll get to the middle part of the season and seem to get a little bit better every Friday night.”