It was a busy summer for the Amory Panthers, hosting 7-on-7 tournaments and facing tough opponents in OTA (organized team activities). Dampeer believes their hard work over the summer will pay off in the long run as they gear up for the season.
“We hosted a 10-team 7-on-7 tournament this summer and had a lot of fun with that,” Dampeer said. “We got a little banged up, so we didn’t finish the way we wanted to, and then, we hosted a five-team OTA with Tupelo, Houston, Pontotoc and Corinth. You’ve got to play good teams like them over the summer to compete at a high level, and I’m really ready to start because I want to see some routine.”
The Panthers will get their first shot at routine football on August 19 as they meet Kossuth for their jamboree. Amory will head to Fulton to face Itawamba for its first game of the season.
Dampeer is excited about these two matchups after ending Kossuth’s season and falling to Itawamba in their first game last year.
“We’re obviously a little bit different than what we were in the first couple of games last year, and I feel like if we faced some Itawamba, Caledonia and Houston later in the season, things would’ve been different,” he said. "We want to play solid and not beat ourselves, but I imagine there will be a lot of excitement when we head to Itawamba. For Kossuth, we ended their season last year, and we’ll be beginning their season this year. There are some teams on the schedule that we really want to beat, but the main goal is preparing ourselves for division play.”
The Panthers clinched the division in a 4-0 sweep last year after beating Nettleton. Dampeer is ready to defend their division title in the tough 4-3A division.
“I think Noxubee will be after us since we beat them at their place last year, but I know our kids will be fired up to play them,” he said. “I think Nettleton is as talented as anyone and can blossom at any point, and Aberdeen has the potential to be even better than they were last year.”
Dampeer credited his coaching staff, Zack Stephenson, Jake Hill, Chris Rainey, DaShaun Fields, Drew Garrett, Steven Griffin, Tyler Hendrix and Rico McDonald, for working hard with the team.
“There’s a lot of excitement this year, and I truly believe our staff has a lot of faith in our guys to execute the things that we’re asking them to do,” he said. “I can’t say enough about our coaching staff. I took my time putting them together, and I’m blessed to have a great staff. Our kids and the community deserve the best that we can get, and I truly think these guys fit perfectly with where we’re at to help us continue to grow as a program.”