Smiths Station Panthers go to work

SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WTVM) – Monday was the big day for the Smiths Station Panthers, along with the rest of Alabama's high school football teams. It was the day they could officially get started on the 2014 football season.

New head coach Jamie Dukes is changing things up, going to a spread offense. The first order of business is to name a starting quarterback. He said it's a three-man race, and competition is still wide open.

"Not one of them has really taken the job," said Dukes "All three are progressing really, really well with our offense, but still one day one is better than the other. I feel confident by a week, or a week and half of our first game, I'll probably name a starter."

The offense has just one returning starter, but the defense is stocked with players with experience, led by four-star linebacker Amonte Caban. Caban says he'll commit to a college by September, but his focus now is the Panthers, who he believes will be strong on defense once again.

"I believe we can match last year, Caban said. "I know we have faster inside linebackers than last year. We probably need to get better in our linebacker drops and coverages, but the run defense is on point."

The Panthers are set to open the season at Americus-Sumter on August 22.