Ridgeland hoping to keep magic season rolling

The Ridgeland Panthers put together the first undefeated season in school history. They want more in the playoffs. PHOTO: WTVC SPORTS

The Ridgeland Panthers are not resting on the laurels of their undefeated regular season.

They know everyone is even coming into the playoffs.

Coach Wesley Tankersley said their first round opponent, Chapel, Hill is a fast team that they will have to equalize.

And Ridgeland may be without one of its key weapons.

The Panthers do-everything running back Jalyn Shelton injured his ankle in the last game of the season against Southeast Whitfield.

It happened under a pile after a play.

He's a game-time decision.

Of course he wants to play and keep the winning streak rolling. Shelton said, "The 2012 team they went to The Dome but they didn't go undefeated though during the regular season. If we could do that, get to The Dome and stay undefeated, it would mean everything. It would make history around here."

Shelton had committed to the Naval Academy, but changed his mind. "I went through it (the decision process) too quick. The Naval Academy, you can't get no better than that, but it's 10 years of your life. "

The Panthers are poised to hopefully make some of the biggest moments of their lives.

Their undefeated regular season is the first in school history, but coach Tankersley said much more lies ahead. "We're glad to be in the position we're in with a one seed and having a home playoff game, but we want our goals to be a lot bigger than that."

Shelton and fellow senior running back Markeith Montgomery have been key leaders so far. Tankersley said the leadership extends beyond the football field. "Just on and off the field, they do a lot of great things for our school and for our football program. "

Offensively, the team has turned the ball over only three times all season.

That's outstanding.

Those two running backs and quarterback Tanner Hill at the helm are a key reason.

One of Hill's favorite targets is Stephon Walker.

Coach "Tank", as the players call him, said this mature team is a "blue-collar" squad.

Shelton added, they'll have it no other way. "It's just what's natural to us. We want to win every game, do everything 110 percent. "

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