CLARKSVILLE (KFSM) - The Clarksville Panthers feel close. That's the mentality the team has to have, as they search for their first true conference victory since 2013.
"This group, they just get up off the mat and they keep fighting," says head coach Khris Buckner. "Once they get that first win, I think they will start rolling. Theres no magic potion to it, they're just going to have to go out and earn it."
A lot of those hopes start with Nicholas Buckner, who broke his collarbone last season.
"I feel 110%" says the junior. "I feel like I've actually gotten better since the injury.
The Panthers remain a young team, but one that returns a lot of experience. 13 different sophomores got starting time last year, and of course they all return this season.
"It's important because we've got guys who know what they're doing and know their jobs," says Cole Clark, one of those juniors. "We don't have to take the extra time to learn positions like we did last year, so we'll be ready to go."
Junior Joseph Ayers agrees that the Panthers have been building for a year like this. 'I think the whole line is either juniors or seniors, so we'll be ready to go and we're ready to win."
"We know what to expect," add Buckner. "We all have the experience and what we need to win."
The Panthers start their season with a tough task: playing at Booneville in week zero.