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The youthful 2021 spring Saint Mary’s football team is ready for any challenge coming their way, which has head coach Connor Banks excited for the spring season. The Panthers are back on the football field getting ready for the grind of a shortened season.
“We are ready to hit someone else besides ourselves,” Banks said. “we didn’t get the chance to scrimmage againts other teams like in a regular year but excited for a game week.”
Saint Mary’s football has been waiting for over a year to return to the gridiron while leaning on the young talent they have. Ian Berry-Smith and Neville RichardsonIIIiii return to the offensive line for Coach Banks, which he hopes they can help the young guys develop as the season goes on.
As for skill guys, Saint Mary’s will be leaning on mostly young players to make big plays for the Panthers. They do have the blessing of a returning quarterback in Bennett Ronay and a couple of his favorite targets from last season – Julian Womack and Jabbar Weaver.
Womack started on both sides for coach Banks last year as a sophomore, which has Banks excited about Womack’s future. While Jabbar Weaver is returning for his third year on varsity for Banks.
Banks was quick to highlight both of these young men’s talents.
“Julian Womack is ready to take that big leap from his sophomore to junior year,” Banks said. :He is a guy I know can play at the collegiate level. Very excited for him to play this year. And Jabbar is your perfect slot receiver tough as nails, will block his butt off, always runs the right right route and finds a way to get open. He’s a very reliable target for Bennet.”
The defensive side of the ball for the panthers will also have a good mix of returning players and young talent ready for any moment. Junior Robert Young will be anchoring that defense at middle linebacker. Plus, Saint Mary’s has two seniors at defensive end in Naeem Braxton and Nevill Ricardson.
“We got good young talent with that sprinkling of senior leadership to help balance that out for us,” Banks said.
Banks and his Panthers, who are 0-1 after a tough season-opening defeat to Pinole Valley, will be on the road for all their games, except the final game against Salesian. While that sounds very rugged for any team playing most of its games on the road, Banks and his team are thankful for the opportunity to play for the red and white of the Saint Mary’s Panthers.
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