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Youthful Panthers get valuable experience

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Cody Whitfield looks to make the reception.
Head coach Greg Cavanah looks on during his team’s first action since April.
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Offensive coordinator Mark Nelson discuses with QB Blake Curtis on the correct reads.
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Cody Whitfield deflects a pass downfield.


Scrimmaging its first 7-on-7 action of the summer, Portland High School played host to East Robertson on a hot, windy July morning in the 37148 as the two programs continue to build on off-season momentum for a better 2017.

For both teams, they return their starting quarterback from last year as well as one key piece in the backfield that should help ease things if they get too hectic.

The Panthers return quarterback Brandon Meador and backfield teammate Kobe Dutcher. The tandem look to get back on track after injuries ended their 2016 season prematurely.

The maroon and white also sport a one-two punch in the backfield that should be familiar in Cross Plains. Second-year starter Cameron Swift is back to run the offense at quarterback, while backfield teammate Johnny Lyons is set to either block at fullback or get carries at the running back position.

Fourth-year head coach Greg Cavanah has plenty of preseason competition set for the prideful purple. After completing three 7-on-7's in week one of the preseason, Portland is scheduled to play at Wilson Central on July 17, travel to Cookeville on July 18 and host two Kentucky teams on July 20th.

"Trying to make sure our guys know where to be and what they need to do," Cavanah said about what he looked for in his team's first 7-on-7. "The kids are working, they are trying. They must be coachable do what we ask them to do, not what they think they should do. In a way, you want them to be a mini-robot, but at the same time you want them to play loose and free and right now we are in that learning mode; we are just that young."

The Indians are looking more and more to third-year head coach Chad Broadrick's liking. The boys of Cross Plains are bigger, stronger, faster and play with a more confidence.

"We did better than I thought we would coming back from a dead period, where I'm sure all they thought about was football," Broadrick said with a slight smile. "I was happy with the day, we had some busts and stuff we will work on but I knew those would happen today. They played hard, they had fun. I think both teams did."

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