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St. Edmond goes to Panorama as the ’19 campaign officially gets under way

PANORA — The St. Edmond football team hits the road to open the 2019 season on Friday night, taking on Panorama.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

These two started last year’s campaign against one another as well, with the Panthers claiming a 41-14 victory inside Dodger Stadium behind the play of Luke South.

South, a senior, returns to lead Panorama after a season in which he threw for just under 1,000 yards, ran for over 600 and had 17 total touchdowns.

“For it being the first game last year, Luke South was a man playing against boys,” SEHS head coach Matt Dillon said. “I was just so impressed with him, and he was just a junior.

“No matter where he is on the field, we have to try and slow him down.”

It would appear from early reports, though, that the Panthers are mixing in Domonic Walker at quarterback, with South lining up around the field. Walker is a junior who attempted just one pass a season ago, but head coach Mike Kauzlarich told Raccoon Valley Radio “(Walker’s) definitely our guy right now.”

“Luke’s going to start to get some reps (in preseason),” he added. “(South) just got back last week (from military training). He’s probably going to start out playing some quarterback then we’ll also move him to play some running back.”

Walker a key member of the defense as a sophomore, recording 37.5 tackles. Trent Hambleton, a junior, is back after recording three sacks, six tackles for loss and 47 stops in all.

Panorama started last year 3-1, scoring 142 points. South was injured in a close loss to Clarinda and that started a three-game slide, though.

They did rebound to win the final two games of the year.

It’s been a vastly different offseason for Dillon, as the veteran coach was able to make his pitch around the school to improve the all-important numbers game.

“We feel good about our team right now coming out of a scrimmage with Belmond-Klemme,” Dillon said. “We have a solid, veteran group, and were able to add some key new kids.”

St. Edmond returns juniors Drew Schaeffer, Sean Flattery and Kase Baker to the skill positions, with senior Charlie Shelly coming back out after not playing a year ago.

Schaeffer takes over at quarterback after leading the Gaels in receiving last season. Flattery ran for 533 yards and scored five touchdowns, Baker had 205 yards and three scores on just nine carries, and Shelly racked up over 300 total yards two years ago.

Flattery, Baker and Shelly were on the Gael track relay teams that captured gold at state this past spring.

“Those three are just so fast and have grown over the last year,” Dillon said. “They can line up at multiple positions, which will allow us to keep them pretty fresh.”

A familiar face returns to coach the defense for St. Edmond this fall in Pat Schomberg. He’ll inherit a group led by Jackson Bemrich and Nick Lawler.

Both have been through the gridiron battles on both sides of the ball, with Bemrich recording 71 tackles, six sacks and 10 tackles for loss, and Lawler 56, a sack and three stops behind the line of scrimmage.