Replacing one of your best players is never easy but necessary in high school football.
That is the case for the Princeton Panthers, who replace starting running back Junior Ombati. The Lamar University signee led the team with 1,477 all-purpose yards last season and 12 touchdowns. Most of all, head coach Ervin Chandler said his leadership would be missing the most.
“We had a big hole, losing Junior Ombati,” Chandler said. “This spring, however, we were really impressed with the guys who came in and took over. Both guys are making an impact and we look forward to seeing them make an impact as juniors.”
The Panthers have two players waiting in the wings in Presley Self and Bryce Dade. Both tailbacks looked impressive on the field at the spring game, with Self showing his ability to move and cut with the ball early on.
“He did a good job for us on JV last season and had a great spring,” Chandler said. “He’s put on some weight and done a great job of running our offense. When he gets the ball, he finds the hole, has a great cutting ability and will be a factor.”
Dade brings more size and power to the running back position. The bigger of the two backs, Dade was a linebacker last season for the Panthers and didn’t move over to the offensive side of the ball until he had some reps in practice for the scout team. From there, the coaches took notice of his talent.
“Bryce carried the ball a couple of times in practice and we thought he might have something at running back,” Chandler said. “We moved him to the backfield and he compliments Presley really well. You better bring your pads if you want to hit him because he’s going to get the yards.”
For the full story, see the June 16 issue of The Princeton Herald.