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After losing the first two games of the season, the North Lamar Panthers’ coaching staff realized they needed to make some changes; especially on the defensive side of the ball. After giving up 467 yards of total offense to the Bonham Purple Warriors the week before, Coach Tommy Felty decided they need to be quicker at the defensive end position.
Enter Jonathan Edwards. Edwards started the season as a linebacker for the Panthers, but after two games was moved to defensive end. He was one of the reasons the Panthers were able to shut down the offense of the Canton Eagles last Friday night.
“We moved him from linebacker to defensive end,” Coach Felty said. “He really excelled the other day. He was able to utilize his speed and athletic ability, and he made a lot of plays happen.”
Coach Felty and his staff wanted to make the change last year and even earlier this year, but they didn’t think they could afford to lose him at linebacker. They feel with his speed, he should be able to have a really big impact on the game moving forward.
“I like [defensive end] better than linebacker,” Edwards said. “It’s easier.”
Coach Felty reiterated this point by saying, it’s less complicated than the linebacker position. Edwards, a second year varsity player, is really excited about the switches on defense.
“At the beginning, I wasn’t feeling really great about [the football team],” Edwards explains. “Since this last game, I’m feeling pretty good about it now — especially since we got our defense switched up. We had a pretty good defensive game against Canton.”
That might be an understatement. The Panthers’ defense held the Eagles to negative rushing yards on the night. The Eagles managed -11 yards on 20 rushing attempts. Edwards played an imperative role with several sacks and tackles for loss. He also plays some offense for the Panthers, spending some time in the half back position and occasionally running the ball.
When he’s not playing football, Edwards said he likes to spend time with his friends and he helps his mom around the house with chores and cleaning. He loves to hunt and fish as well. As a matter of fact, he is hoping to study to be a game warden. In addition, he wants to pursue football at the collegiate level. With at least seven more games this season plus his senior year, football could be a real possibility for this athlete. According to Coach Felty, he’s an extremely hard worker. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get to the next level.
By Greg Higgins, eParisExtra