Undefeated Orange is dominating the scoreboard.
The Big Eight 3As Panthers have a 36-point average differential in scoring. Orange is averaging 42 points per game and allowing only six per game. The Panthers have four shutouts in six games and are the only area team holding opponents to fewer than 10 points per game.
Orange is No.2 in The N&O rankings behind Wake Forest, which is No.5 in point differential.
Panthers coach Pat Moser said one key to his teams play has been its offseason workouts. A year ago, Orange lost to Havelock 42-7 in the playoffs. Moser later spent time taking to Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant about the Rams offseason program.
We were not doing half of what they do, so we made changes, Moser said. Our kids really worked hard in the spring. Plus, were very fortunate right now because weve got a good bunch of players. They work hard and they are good athletes.
The defense, led by free safety J.D. Brooks (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), has been extraordinary.
Weve got about everything youd want on defense, Moser said. The line, which is mostly juniors, is playing great. The corners are good and the linebackers are great and Brooks is one of the best Ive ever seen at safety.
Offensively, the Panthers are sharing the ball. Pat Pettiford and Tay Jones split time in the backfield with 250-pound fullback Michael Bolden. Moser said he wouldnt trade Garrett Cloer for any quarterback in the area.
Any of the three could have a lot more yards in a different situation, Moser said. Theres only one football and they are sharing it.
Orange was the No.3 preseason pick in the Big Eight 3A behind Southern Durham and Cardinal Gibbons. The Panthers will play those teams the final two weeks of the season.
Nobody questions how good Gibbons and Southern Durham are, Moser said. Were still the underdogs.
But no area team comes close to the Panthers in point differential.