For Pikeville to improve on its mark of a year ago it will turn to tight end Brett Gibson, defensive end Josh Sullivan, running back Robert Shurtleff, all of whom are seniors. Juniors Weston Robinson, who will split time with Shurtleff in the backfield, quarterback Chase Husman and receiver Jes Parish will also be heavily relied on.
"We have a lot of talented guys coming back," said Pikeville head coach Chris McNamee. "They are all hard workers, so we are looking forward to the season."
Brett Gibson, who in addition to the tight end position, starts at linebacker for the Panthers.
"He has really good hands," McNamme said. "He blocks really well and is solid at linebacker for us."
Gibson, who currently measures 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, camped at Louisville earlier this year, as well as attended the Cardinals Junior Day in April and receives frequent mailings from the U of L assistant coach Greg Nord.
"He's getting a lot of stuff from U of L," added McNamee.
Josh Sullivan, who at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, lines up at both defensive end and offensive guard for Pikeville, but McNamee believes he's likely a linebacker on the college level and is possibly the best prospect on this years squad.
"He does a great job for us and he'll make a great player for some school," McNamee said. "He camped at Kentucky, Louisville and Eastern Kentucky."
Shurtleff, who shares the Pikeville backfield with Robinson, rushed for over 1,000-yards last fall, while also starting at linebacker.
"He's tough to bring down," McNamee said of the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Shurtleff. "He had good size and moves really well with the ball."
While Shurtleff is more a banger, who has the ability to punch through holes up the middle, Robinson (5'9, 165) is more of an elusive running back, giving the Panthers a dangerous combo in the backfield.
The passing attack will be led by juniors Husman (6'2, 175) and Parish (6'0, 185), who should become one of the top quarterback/receiver combos in the district.
"Chase is the fastest guy on our team," said McNamee of his quarterback. "I'm looking forward to seeing how he comes along this year. He has the right size for the position and has a good arm. Jes is a great receiver for us and should do really well this year."
While high schools on the Class A don't frequently produce multiple prospects in a given year, Pikeville may take exception to that stigma this year.