First year Amory head coach Allen Glenn will admit it has been a not-so-easy process.
“I didn’t even get to see the kids until after school was out for the summer,” Glenn said, who took the job in late May after being the defensive coordinator at Tupelo. “The first few weeks was walking around like a chicken with its head cut off.”
Glenn took over after Ben Ashley was the head coach of the Panthers for the last three years.
The Panthers started ensuring its new playbook through 7-on-7 in June.
“The kids were trying to get used to me and we really didn’t know what we had until we got the pads on,” Glenn said. “You have guys that look good without pads on, but once you get them on and people are hitting you things certainly change a lot. It took us a week or two to get everything down and things have been working out for us.”
Yes it has.
The Panthers (6-2, 2-0 Region 1-4A) have rolled off five straight wins after starting 1-2. In its first two division games, Amory has knocked off then two undefeated teams.
In their Region 1-4A opener, the Panthers went up to Fulton and knocked off Itawamba AHS (5-0 at the time) 41-14 and then last week they defeated Pontotoc (who was 7-0 coming in) 26-18 at home.
“I really think its us going back and having two good weeks of practice,” Glenn said. “We practiced well all week and had good game plans in place and went out and executed.”
The Panthers are very balanced on offense averaging 165.6 yards receiving and 154.4 yards rushing.
Senior quarterback Zatorious Gates has passed for 1,133 yards with eight touchdowns. Gates missed majority of last year with a knee injury.
Jartavis Jernighan (450 yards) and Monzavier Latham (365 yards) have been splitting time at running back.
“We try to stay very balanced on offense. Zatorious is finally back after the injury and getting used to playing football and that is huge,” Glenn said. “We just go by what the defense gives and try not to get a bind where the defense knows what is coming.”
One of Amory’s loses was to rival Aberdeen 44-34 back on Sept. 2, the Panthers were up 34-14 at half time. Since then they’ve been rolling along.
“We had to go back and regroup and I challenged the guys to learn to finish,” Glenn said. “The kids have responded well over the last few weeks and have bought into what we’re teaching them and need to continue to do so.”
Amory is in the same situation has last year, off to a 2-0 start in division play but ended up being the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. The Panthers host rival Shannon (5-2, 1-1) on Friday.
“It’s a big rivalry and of course a big division game for both teams,” Glenn said. “Shannon is very athletic and well coached. But we are in the same scenario as last year and I’ve told the kids don’t be satisfied with what you’ve done so far. We got to continue to play fast and physical and hope that will lead us. In our division you need to take it one game at a time because if you don’t you will regret it.”