By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Amory was the surprise of Class 4A last season when the Panthers went 11-4 and lost to eventual state champion Lafayette County in the North championship.
The Panthers wrapped up spring practice with a scrimmage Friday and the biggest question the 2012 team faces may be who will take the snaps.
Forest Williams was fourth in the nation in passing last season with 5,100 yards and 55 TDs.
That role could belong to one of three contenders, sophomore Jon David Poss, junior Fred Garth or senior Jaylon Fair.
“Each do things well,” Amory coach Trent Hammond said. “Each brings a little different skill set to the table.”
Whoever is under center won’t have a bare cupboard. Five explosive receivers return, led by highly-touted senior Dario Robinson, who finished last season with 2,291 yards on 143 catches for 21 touchdowns.
All three totals led the state, as did his 146.1 yard per game average. Three offers are in, from South Alabama, Arkansas State and East Mississippi. Hammond said scouts were prevalent at practice.
“Spring went great,” Robinson said. “Everybody was going full speed. We had a lot of scouts there. I expect us to have a great year, especially considering where we finished last season.”
Tanner Poole, Devin McIntosh, Fair and Abaris Woodrick combined for another 34 scores. Woodrick was second on the team with 1,158 yards and 77 catches. The 5-foot-10 Robinson is also drawing interest from Memphis, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
“Dario has handled the attention very well,” Hammond said. “If there is a better slot receiver out there, I want to see him. Our five wideouts have proven to be special and this spring they’ve built of that.”
The defense went through a change with the departure of coordinator Ty Trahan, replaced by five-year Aberdeen coordinator Patrick Schoolar, who led two heralded defenses to state title games.
He takes over a small group that got big production, especially from its linebacking corp that returns Hayden Williams.
“We had to learn a few new terminologies and schemes,” Hammond said. “We worked on tackling and being physical and wanted to continued to play hard and swarm.”