Ashley Ennis is bringing a new look with an old style to North Johnston football this fall.
After years of option football, the Panthers, who endured an 0-11 season in 2013, has dropped that style and will be embracing the Wing-T offense, which Ennis learned in his years as an assistant coach and implemented during his two-year tenure as head coach of Two Rivers 3A Conference member Triton.
“We’re running the Wing-T,” Ennis said. “Along with the traditional Delaware, and we have some spread Wing-T stuff we’re working in.”
Ennis, who left Triton after posting a two-year, 19-4 won-lost ledger at Triton, said the Panthers are adapting to the new format, but admits it will take time.
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“We just need to try to get good at executing what we do,” Ennis said. “We need to play physical, run the football and let it help our play-action passing game.”
Ennis said most of the players that have been working out “are positive about it (Wing-T).
“We’ll take the ones that can buy in and play the way we want them to play,” Ennis said. “Those are the ones we will go with. We’ve got a good group coming back. Of course, numbers and depth will be a key issue with us.”
Ennis cited Dallas Krob as the Panthers’ starting quarterback during the 7-on-7 passing league events, and Quamel Kenion as a major contributor at fullback. Kenion said while there had been very little work with the running game, he was in favor of the change in offensive style.
“I like it,” Kenion said. “With the Wing-T we can run the ball out of the backfield, which is me, and have three backs which can go instead of two.
“I like it better like that. I think we are going to bring something to the table this season.”
Krob, quarterback for the junior varsity a year ago, is also in favor of the move to the Wing-T.
“The Wing-T will make us more competitive,” Krob said. “We are more of a smash-mouth team, and this year we will use our (offensive) line more than the option-style offense would.”
He then talked of his duties and the expectations of his position.
“As a quarterback, you have a lot more options,” Krob said. “When you are not in the Wing-T, you have to make a lot more choices. But when you are in the Wing-T, a lot of your reads are a lot easier in the spread.”
Krob also added that the seven-on-seven league was a benefit to him.
“It helps me read my options,” he said. “Not like last year when you had to look everywhere.”
Ennis said there is still a lot of work to do, implementing the running game and getting everyone football ready.
“We have to get in shape,” Ennis said. “We will have a lot of big guys we have to get ready to be competitive.
“We just want to give ourselves a chance to win football games: to try and go out and win every Friday night, so our kids have to play hard each time out.”
He wasn’t fooling himself about the challenge that lay ahead.
“We’re in a very strong 2A league (Eastern Plains Conference),” Ennis said. “All the teams in it are very good. They have speed and we have to be able to get up to their level. They aren’t about to come down to ours.”