Since posting a 5-6 record in its inaugural season in 2012, the Ridge Point Panthers have reeled off 62 wins in the past six seasons.
However, the success has yet to produce a state title, yielding a lone title-game appearance in 2015.
Seventh-year head coach Brett Sniffin knows one thing holds the key to taking that elusive next step.
“We just need to have more consistency on the offensive line,” he said. “We have a lot of lettermen back and a lot of good team speed, and we feel as though that will be able to take us to the next level.”
Junior Caleb Rodkey and seniors Nicholas Wilson-Haymond and Troy Cavazos return from last year’s 10-2 squad to anchor an offensive line that paved the way for nearly 144 yards per game on the ground.
Running the show behind them will be senior quarterback Will Pendergrass (1,588 passing yards, 14 touchdowns in 2018).
He will have his leading target back in junior receiver John Paul Richardson (639 receiving yards, six TDs) along with senior Devin Gunter (304 receiving yards, five TDs) to spearhead an offense that averaged 28 points per game last season.
“All those guys will be counted on heavily,” Sniffin said. “They’ve been around for a long time, so they bring a lot of experience to us. We’ll pretty much be doing the same thing we’ve done for the last 10 years (schematically).”
Senior middle linebacker and leading tackler Adrian Johnson (88 tackles, 12 tackles for loss) returns for a reloaded Panthers defense that allowed just 19 points per game last season.
Also back is senior defensive lineman Bryson Stewart (61 tackles, 22 TFLs).
Johnson holds scholarship offers from Colorado State and Louisiana-Lafayette, among other colleges, while Stewart holds offers from Utah State and Southern Miss, among others.
“We expect them to step up, make big plays and be the leaders of this defense,” Sniffin said.
Ridge Point begins its quest for success at 7 p.m. Thursday against Kingwood.