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Ridgeland running back Jordan Blackwell (3) runs the ball downfield as he Heritage defensive back Clint Petteys (23) during the Ridgeland vs. Heritage football game Friday, September 21, 2018 at Ridgeland High School in Rossville, Georgia.

Head coach: Kip Klein (first season here and overall)

Returning starters: 6 offensive; 6 defensive

Key players: RB Jordan Blackwell (6-0, 180); LB Terrence Roberts (5-10, 185); WR Torrance Roberts (5-10, 175); OL Logan Godfrey (6-2, 245); K Conner Middleton (5-9, 180); FS Julian Brooks (5-8, 160); QB Nathan Carver (6-3, 210).

Team strengths: The Panthers again will have the most team speed in the northwest Georgia area, led by the Roberts duo and Blackwell. What they lack in size they can more than make up for in athletic ability at most areas of their formations.

some text Ridgeland's Torrance Roberts catches a ball over his shoulder during a 7-on-7 scrimmage Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at Ridgeland High School in Rossville, Georgia.

"Speed is the one thing that stands out about us," Klein said. "We can use it in a lot of different ways."

Team concerns: The Panthers lack ideal size on the lines, and what they do have is young. The defensive line will have to grow up in a hurry in a very offense-strong region.

Breakout candidate: Quarterback Carver started a pair of games at the end of the 2018 season and displayed a big arm. With so much speed on the outside, expect more deep balls from the Panthers, who will take to the air more this season.

Season outlook: Skill-position wise the Panthers can match nearly any Georgia team north of Atlanta, but the first-year head coach knows his team will go only as far offensively as his young line can take it.

An ex-lineman himself, Klein isn't asking his group, which includes two sophomore tackles, two juniors and a senior, to be great. Good should get the Panthers where they want to be, and to get there Klein is counting on more than just talent and size.

"Since we started working, the linemen have worked out together the whole time and the skill people have worked together as well," he said. "I want to get a brotherhood built up with the linemen, because if they are close they will work harder to be a unit."

One of those big tackles is Klein's son, Jacob (6-5, 230), with Logan Montgomery (6-6, 250) on the other side. The glue is guard Godfrey, the lone senior. As good as 1,000-yard rusher Blackwell is, one key block at the second level can lead to a touchdown, something Coach Klein has drilled into the group.

"We've got such speed that our line has to come forward and get to linebackers as quickly as they can," he said. "If we do that, we're going to be tough to stop."

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