NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley Panthers lost some fine players to graduation but hopes are high in Naugatuck that the Panthers will bounce back and have a really good year.
The Panthers report they have been replacing the players who graduated with effort. Off season effort has been the key, whether in the weight room or playing another sport, the Panthers have stayed focused and are ready for practice to begin.
Assistant coach Justin Crawford said, “I’m excited about our upcoming season. We’ve got some really talented kids; many of them have worked really hard in the weight room. They can’t wait to get on the field. Coach Ooten has them ready and I’m excited for them. They will get to see it pay off.”
Crawford continued by saying, “We are ready to take the next step. We’ve done some things here at Tug Valley over the last few years that have shocked people. We are not Cinderella at the ball anymore. People know about the boys from the south. We’re not just a basketball school anymore. Our team is well coached, players are enthusiastic at both the high school and middle school levels, and the community is as well. It’s a great time to be a Panther.”
The Panthers feel short of glory last season after losing to Man High in the last game of the season only to beat them in the opening round of the Class-AA playoffs, once they squared off against Moorefield the season came to an abrupt end.
Last season the Panthers had a spectacular sophomore class that filled any gaps that were missing from the upper classmen. This year, those players will be juniors and will have another year of experience to bring to the table.
The Panthers will have a few weeks to move players around and let competition decide who will be the starters. They will kick off the season at Sherman on Aug, 26. As practice progresses we will get a better look at who will be carrying the workloads for the panthers this season.
Practice will begin Monday at 6 p.m. for the Panthers 2016 football season.
(William plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] on on twitter @sidplaster.)