HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Hermitage football is coming off back-to-back Central Region championships and in 2011 fell just two wins shy of winning the state crown. Despite their success, a state title has eluded the Panthers, and they open up practice in 2012 with that as their main goal.
Hermitage returns a mix of veterans and new starters. Quarterback Dylan Jackson has graduated, but senior Niko Johnson will move into that spot. The Panthers also return several experienced receivers, but the biggest name returning is running back Derrick Green, one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country. Green has offers from more than 30 schools, but right now his focus is on the season and helping Hermitage win the state title. He says he'll narrow down his list of college choices to the top five this week, but will put recruiting aside to focus on the 2012 campaign.
The Panthers only return four starters on both sides of the ball, plus their kicker, but that doesn't concern head coach Patrick Kane. He says that during the course of the season, his second string players get plenty of opportunities to play, so when they move into the first string, they're ready to go with no shortage of experience.
Hermitage will open up its 2012 season on August 25, when the Panthers face Fork Union at Oscar Smith High School. That game will be televised in front of a national audience on ESPNU.