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ECHS coach Jordan Cantrell said his team’s offensive line was the key to success during Friday’s jamboree in Selma.

The Elmore County football team traveled to Selma on Friday night to finish off its spring practice period. Southside Selma hosted a jamboree with three teams where the Panthers knocked off Hale County, 13-0, in one half of play before falling 20-0 to Southside Selma to finish the day.

“We had a really good spring,” ECHS coach Jordan Cantrell said. “We have a lot of young kids but they showed some toughness. There is a lot of work to do but we saw some positives we want to build on.”

Elmore County’s first-team offense got off to a good start against Hale County but the Panthers’ coaching staff began mixing in reserves for the final three quarters, including most of the half against Southside Selma. Elmore County had three different quarterbacks take snaps in the games, including Brody Ward and Dylan Weaver.

“We rotated our quarterbacks every possession,” Cantrell said. “We do not have a starter there but they all played well and handled the offense well.”

Despite losing the bulk of its offensive production from last season, Elmore County turned back to the rushing attack. Keshawn Benson is expected to get a lot of those carries this year and he scored both of the team’s touchdowns on the ground with the help of a strong performance by the offensive line.

“Our offensive line performed really well,” Cantrell said. “It started up front for us and they did their jobs when we needed it.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers did not allow any points with their full 

starting lineup on the field. Elmore County lost some starters from last season but saw some depth help fill in those gaps during the jamboree.

“Our defense looked good,” Cantrell said. “The defensive line did well and we had a few linebackers step up. Our secondary needs some work but we’re really young in the back right now.”

With the spring period wrapped up, the Panthers have moved their focus to the summer to help prepare the team to push for a postseason appearance in the fall. Elmore County has not made the playoffs since 2011 but Cantrell said the team is building to something special and it has to continue through summer camp.

“We want to work on our conditioning,” Cantrell said. “We have to get that mental and physical toughness ready for the fall. We want to keep building on the spring we had.”

Elmore County will begin its summer workouts during the first week in June when the Panthers will work out three days per week. They will up to four days per week in July, including hosting three other teams for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) before fall camp begins. 

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.