The difference between the programs that stay at an elite level and the programs that are one or two year wonders is how they respond after losing a strong senior class and that's what MOJO faces after losing 30 letterman. Will this be a rebuilding season or a reloading season for Coach Darren Allman's crew? Permian joins the revamped District 2-5A which features 10 teams total and PHS will only have one non-district game as it's a neutral site matchup against Duncanville.
On offense the Panthers return just four starters on offense but all four players are key performers. The top skill player back is WR Ryan Rumbaugh who earned second team all 3-5A honors in 2007 as he hauled in 44 catches for 710 yards and 4 touchdowns, he'll be joined by Andrew Bell and Brian Nunez at the receiver spot. Look for Sherard Ray to take over full time at tailback as in spot duty last year he notched just over 400 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. Trevor Adams looks to be the one who will take over at QB this off-season but he'll get pushed by Alan Castillejos, and seven on seven could be key for the development of the two QB's at the varsity level. Castillejos will also be counted on to be the Panthers placekicker. The strength of the Panthers offense will be in the trenches where they feature Texas commit Garrett Porter who is widely considered the top offensive lineman in the state, TE Shai Biggerstaff will also be key as he was named second team all 3-5A in 2007.
Much like on offense the Panthers have some key players to replace as only three starters are back, but also like on offense the players who are back are big time. LB Jerome Leija will be back to lead the Panthers on the defensive side of the ball, as he posted over 100 tackles and earned first team all 3-5A honors. The secondary for the Panthers will be where the main strength lies as DB's Anthony McDowell and Alan Castillejos return after first team all 3-5A honors. Where the questions lie for Permian is how they will do up front as the Panthers took most of their losses on the defensive line. This will be the area that makes or breaks Permian in the postseason, if the defensive line matures and becomes a strength I expect another 3 or 4 round playoff march. However, if the MOJO defensive line remains a liability I don't look for Permian to get past the area round.