The Woodville football team spent spring practice doing a basic install of its new offense.

Judging by the Panthers’ two-quarter scrimmage results with Class 4A DAR and 3A New Hope, the offensive change is paying dividends.

Woodville posted a 20-7 win over New Hope and downed DAR 28-16 during the three-team jamboree at New Hope High School on May 17.

“I thought the kids played really well,” said Woodville head coach Jay Powell. “We won both games, which we were excited about. It was good see those kind of results. We did a basic install — we had about 10 plays in — but the kids did a good job with it.”

The Panthers are switching from a spread offense to a hybrid Wing-T offense for the 2019 season. Woodville has run the spread since Powell’s arrival as coach in 2014. Powell said the offensive switch better suits his team’s personnel.

“We’ve got some bigger linemen now and they really like it. They think it’s easier from an assignment standpoint,” Powell said. “We’ve got (running back) Da’vion (Johnson) back and (quarterback) Jackson (Peek) back. Both of them did a good job running it.”

Johnson, who rushed for 1,182 yards and 14 touchdowns on 202 carries last season, had five rushing touchdowns and caught another from Peek during Woodville’s jamboree wins. The Panthers’ other touchdown was a defensive score by Jackson Peek, who returned one of his three interceptions against DAR for a touchdown. Woodville also got a two-point conversion from Damian Vincent, a freshman who transferred from DAR.

Woodville is coming off a 4-6 campaign in which it finished fifth (2-4) in Class 1A Region 7 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Powell believes better ball control could help Woodville fare better in a challenging region.

“We’re wanting to be more physical at the line scrimmage on both sides of the ball and we think this style (of offense) helps that,” Powell said. “We’re huddling now, trying to run some clock and have some clock management.”

Defensively, Powell said the Panthers have “some spots to shore up” but overall was pleased with the progress the defense made this spring. 

“I was pleased with how those guys played,” he said. “The defensive line really got after it. Some of the younger guys that we have in the secondary made some good plays. It helps having Jackson’s experience back there at safety. 

Powell said Josh Thompson was another player who shined in a different role. He moved from the offensive line to a blocking back position on offense while also playing outside linebacker on defense. Another, Powell said, was Zach Thompson. He played middle linebacker, where the Panthers are looking to replace University of the Cumberland’s signee Mitchell McKenzie.

Woodville resumes its offseason conditioning program next week. The Panthers open the 2019 season Aug. 23 at Waterloo.

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