Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

Panther offense ready for 2018

Panthers look to returning skill-players for guidance this season, replace majority of O-Line
Aug 22, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Tate Shull is one of a handful of returning receivers who will be featured in the passing game in 2018.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

There are just two days left before the Mt. Pleasant varsity football team finally kicks off their first official game of 2018. Mt. Pleasant hosts Clear Creek-Amana in a non-district game this coming Friday, Aug. 24.

The Panthers are coming off a 6-3 season last year and bring a decent chunk of the skill-players back this season.

Mt. Pleasant was up-and-down on the offensive side of the ball last season. The Panthers scored over 35 points three different times, including a season-high 49 points in their final game of the season. However, the team also scored 14 points or fewer five different times.

In district play, Mt. Pleasant scored 162 points, which put them right in the middle of the pack. The Panthers tanked behind Solon, Oskaloosa and Washington, the three teams that knocked them off.

The anchor of the offense was Mt. Pleasant’s passing game. Zach Beason, who is entering his senior year this season, threw for 1,633 yards which ranked him second in the district and seventh in Class 3A.

Three of the players above Beason on the passing list were seniors, which means Beason will be the fourth-leading returning passer in Class 3A when the schedule starts up on Friday.

Beason spread the ball around in 2017, finding seven different pass-catchers for 100 yards or more. Four of those pass-catchers were lost to graduation, which means the senior QB will need to hook up with a few new recievers this season.

“They’ve filled in pretty well,” Beason says of the new core. “We’ve got some younger kids, but they’ve done well learning the system and catching balls, so I’m not too worried about it.”

The top reciever for Mt. Pleasant in 2017 was Chase Lamm, who, like Beason, returns for his senior season this year. Lamm caught 25 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He also had the second-longest touchdown catch of the year, a 49-yard strike in the homecoming game against West Burlington-Notre Dame.

Lamm and Rylan Seberg (nine catches, 183 yards, one touchdown) will look to be a one-two punch for the Panthers this year. Tate Shull, who caught three passes for 29 yards last season, will be a more focal point in the offense as well.

Lamm says success last season was best when they offense was flowing together.

“We had a good year last year,” Lamm says. “We were blending well as a team.”

Lamm knows a lot more will be expected from him this season. Not only is he playing more on both sides of the field this year, but he and the others will have to make up for a big chunk of receiving yards from the Class of 2017.

“Rylan, Tate, Myself, Tucker (Johnsno)...Some of the guys that are returning from last year have to step up,” Lamm says. “There are a lot of new guys that are filling some spots and they’ll be really important as well.”

The passing game is helped out by dual-threat running back Levi Puig. After stepping up as the starting halfback when senior star Brody McGhghy went down mid-way through last season, he became a major part of both the running and passing game.

Puig, who is also entering his senior year, rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns last year and also caught 14 passes for 115 yards and two scores.

One concern for Mt. Pleasant is their lack of returning offensive linemen. The Panthers return just one starter on the offensive front, junior Keegan Kohorst. The Panthers have a handful of linemen fighting for the other spots, including returning letter winners Garrett Maddy and Tristan Scovel, both of which are seniors this year.

Friday’s opener against CCA will be an opportunity for the Panther offense to get up and running early in the season. CCA won just three games last year and lost 19 players to graduation.

Mt. Pleasant will need to ride their vertical passing game and overall team speed to out-dual opposing offenses this season, but the Panther leaders say they aren’t worried individual stats.

“I hope we can score a lot of points and put some fireworks out for the crowd,” says Beason. “That’s it.”

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