Daviess County lost one of the most dynamic offensive players in the nation to graduation in the form of quarterback Joe Humphreys, who in 2021 passed for a whopping 3,940 yards and 48 touchdowns as the Panthers went 11-2 and reached the Class 6-A Region 1 title game before being knocked out by eventual state champion St. Xavier.
Also lost was offensive coordinator Jordan Leach, who accepted a position on the coaching staff at Bowling Green High School.
Despite it all, DCHS head coach Matt Brannon believes his team can put together another outstanding season this fall.
“We’ll go into the first week of the season with a new look, which will be a good transition for us, with some different ideas,” Brannon said. “It’s forcing us to do things a little differently this year.
“We lost a lot of quality production, for sure, but we return a lot of production, too, including running back Bryson Parm, who missed most of last season with (a collarbone) injury.”
OFFENSESenior Jack Ball and junior Lake Wilson will handle the quarterback chores and direct the Panthers’ Multiple Pro Style offense.
The key figure in that offense will be Parm, a battle-tested senior who rushed for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns in eight games as a sophomore in 2020.
“Bryson is a dynamic football player, and we’re happy to have him back healthy and ready to go,” Brannon said. “He’s a complete back who can run the ball, catch the ball, and block — a true big-play type of player.”
Others who will carry the ball include senior power back Damarien Garner and junior speedster Sam Oberst.
DC’s top returning receiver is senior deep threat Decker Renfrow, who caught 60 passes for 1,067 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall. Also back is third-down specialist Luke Floyd (7 TDs), a junior, along with senior tight end Cole Burch. Juniors Russ Crowe and Luke Hagedorn are also in the mix.
Four-year starter Isaac Blue, a senior center, anchors a massive line that also includes junior right tackle Ryder Cunningham, senior left tackle Preston Crosley, senior left guard Miles Miller and senior right guard Braden Boling. Key subs are senior Jaxon Winkler and junior Gil Nicodemus.
“We’ll be more a controlled offense this season,” Brannon said. “We want to slow the game down and take our shots where we can. We’ll run the ball more, which will take some pressure off the quarterback.”
Five players are expected to see action up front in the Panthers’ 3-4 set, including junior Sam Clark, Boling, senior Elijah Moore, Garner and Nicodemus.
Linebackers include Blue, Burch, Ball, senior Tyce Beehn and Floyd.
DC’s secondary will feature safeties Renfrow, senior Eli King and junior Connor White, along with cornerbacks Hagedorn and Crowe.
“Last season, we leaned on the strength of our secondary and linebacking corps,” Brannon said. “This year, our strength and experience will be our front seven. This will be more slow, more controlling, more smash-mouth football from our big boys up front.
“We’re capable of having a big season on the defensive side; it’s just going to be a different style compared to last year’s group.”
SPECIAL TEAMSDaviess appears set with senior veteran Sean Higgs handling the place-kicking duties and Wilson set as punter.
Kick returns will be handled by breakaway threats Renfrow and Parm, with Hagedorn and Crowe ticketed to return punts.
“I feel good about our special teams personnel,” Brannon said. “We try to be creative in our kick return game, and it’s proved to be pretty huge for us — we want to dominate this area of the game.”
OUTLOOKFootball participation is booming at DC, which features 52 freshman and over 100 individuals in the program.
“We’re really excited about our players, and we are progressing faster than we expected,” Brannon said. “Overall, the excitement that was created last year has carried over, and we certainly want to make the most of the momentum that’s been generated.
“We have a strong group of senior leaders and a lot players eager to leave their marks on the program — we have the formula for great success.”