Mike Glisson is entering his third year as the head coach of Smiths Station football. During his first year he brought a winning season back to Smiths Station (6-4) for the first time since 2013 and was one loss away from making the playoffs. Riding that momentum into year two didn’t go as planned after finishing 2-8 during the 2019 season. The main issue last year was a lot of his position players were young sophomores or juniors who had to learn as they went, snap after snap. There were some mistakes made but the team did compete with every team they played. Looking back at the 2-8 record, much of the win/loss record doesn’t reflect how the team played each game. Most of the games were made up of a really good first half and a second half that went south or the Panthers dug themselves into a hole during the second quarter and couldn’t recover after strong third and fourth quarters. Two games were lost by three points each. Much of the 2019 season the Panthers lacked experience and confidence during thier tough region games.
This year the Panthers are returning a lot of players on offense and defense that know what it takes to compete in this tough region. Coming back for his senior year and anchoring the defense is 3-star recruit Jordan Jones at middle linebacker, who is committed to Georgia State. Senior Cory Minton started at quarterback for the last two seasons but swapped to wide receiver towards the end of last year and is returning as a virtual piece of the offense who can play multiple positions to help his team. Senior Jacob Blackmon could take some snaps at quarterback this year as he took over for Minton last season. Glisson hasn’t named his starting quarterback yet but having two capable senior quarterbacks battle during the summer isn’t a bad problem to have. TJ Morgan, Jhameir Gore, Rylan Cowert, Ahmari Peabody, Cianan Williams, Kyle Watson, Markei Brooks and Malek Harris are also some of the Panthers to be explosive this season.
Given the current situation of the global pandemic of COVID-19, Glisson knows he has some boys that are committed to this team and committed to win to go through all of the uncertainty of how this season will go. “ I have eighty kids that show up every day and want to play and I owe it to those kids to be here to get them ready to play.”
No spring training took this place so it was a setback going into summer camp.
“It’s been very challenging and a tough summer.” said Glisson. “At the end of the day i’m a football coach and that’s what im hired to do.”
Glisson isn’t changing his offensive scheme this year and feels like the scheme will work once he gets the right players in the right positions. “ Our goal is to get the team to work together to reach a common goal.” said Glisson. The offense will be running a run-pass-option which will give them a lot of dynamic possibilities this year.
The Regin 2 had another realignment this year by dropping Lee-Montgomery and adding the newly merged Dothan High School. The combined record of the Panther’s opponents are 72-44 from last season. Central comes to T.C Britton this year to start region play on September 4th, followed by Prattville on September 11th and Jeff Davis on October 2nd. After a nice home stretch the Panthers will become road warriors and play their final four games, three of which could be critical in winning the region or creating a playoff berth, on the road with Enterprise on October 9th, Auburn on October 16th, Dothan on October 23rd, and non-region opponent Stanhope Elmore to close out the 2020 regular season on October 30th.
Up first for the Panthers was supposed to be the Russell County Warriors tomorrow night at T.C Britton Stadium but Russell County High School delayed all fall sports until September 4th due to COVID 19 concerns. This decision is ruled as a forfeit for Russell County and the Panthers are awarded the win and are officially 1-0 on the season. Next week the Panthers stay at home to play Gardendale for only the second time in program history on August 29th.