Mark it down If the returning starters can help develop the underclassmen, then Mabank could end a 10-year playoff absence. Hudson is determined to have the players ready to compete each week. 2017 RECORD 1-9 (7th, District 8-4A) Mabank’s goal is simple – changing mentality he Mabank Panthers head into the 2018 season with a new head coach in former Howe leader Zack Hudson. Hudson will take over for coach Mikey Thompson who resigned from Mabank in the spring. In the past four seasons, the Panthers have gone 4-35 overall. “I tell everybody because I have had the experience of doing it, is that we have to change the mentality before we do any- thing else,” Hudson said. “So much of it is I think people get used to losing. You have to change the mentality in how we look at things and how we practice. I have to change the aura of it so we can get things turned around.” Hudson said his connection to the Mabank Panthers came from coach Jimmy Cantrell. “I have known coach Cantrell here for my whole life. I am very familiar with the area due to family. I have always thought that they could win even when they were down. I have always followed them due to coach Cantrell. It was one of those jobs that you look at growing up coming up through coaching that I was always inter- ested in. When it came open and the op- T portunity came, I took it. The last two schools that I have been at have been uphill climbs. We man- aged to climb the hill so I am not afraid of it.” Head Coach Hudson is ex- Zack cited to see what Hudson quarterback Devyn Gibbs, run- ning back Alynn Gentry and fullback Dakota Shaw do in his Wing-T offense. “It is nice having them all back just like at quarterback. When you have kids back, it helps, and the style we run will be dif- ferent for them,” Hudson said. “They are ready to go, and they never missed a summer workout and are here every day. They want to be good, and they are put- “Our main focus is going to be breaking the offense and de- fense down to be simple ...” – Zack Hudson Senior spotlight Alynn Gentry re- turns looking for a strong year at the running back posi- tion. With a new head coach and a strong Gentry offseason workout, Gentry looks to adjust to a new style under Zack Hudson. If he can develop to the new sys- tem, fans could see Gentry guiding the Panthers to victories and possibly into the playoffs. 70 ting the team on their backs. Between Devyn, Alynn, Dakota, Hunter Penix, Bodie Rowe, Gage Graham and some of the oth- er guys, they want to see this thing turned around, and they want to win some ball- games.” He said with a district prediction of sixth in the new District 9-4A, running the football will be key. “What I have done in the past with the Wing-T and the Slot-T fits that mentality,” the coach said. “I think it is easier on the quarterbacks like Devyn to roll out and have some easier looks at things. We will have to establish the run game to be suc- cessful.” Hudson stressed fans will see a team giving full effort during practices and games under his leadership. “I think effort is a huge part of high school football,” Hudson said. “Our main focus is going to be breaking the offense and defense down to be simple. At the same time, we want our kids to give full effort every play and not be confused. As a coaching staff, that will be our main fo- cus so that kids know what they are doing on every play.” Mabank opens the season Aug. 31 on the road at Rains. Did you know? 2018 Schedule DATE OPPONENT TIME Aug. 31 Sept. 8 Sept. 14 Sept. 21 Sept. 28 Oct. 12 Oct. 19 Oct. 26 Nov. 2 Nov. 9 at Emory Rains (1-9) at Kemp (13-2) Wills Point (6-5) Canton (6-5) at Ferris (4-7)* Crandall (7-5)* at Quinlan (5-5)* Wax. Life (5-6)* at Athens (3-7)* Heritage (12-1)* 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 2017 RESULT DNP L 53-7 DNP L 35-20 DNP L 38-17 DNP DNP L 35-7 DNP Bold denotes homecoming game/* district game/ Opponent is listed with its 2017 overall season record RETURNING STARTERS: 13 (7/6) RETURNING LETTERMEN: 21 • Hudson said his interest in get- ting the Mabank job came from coach Jimmy Cantrell, who he has known all of his life. • In the past four seasons, the Panthers have a record of 4-35 overall. The last two season saw them finish 1- 19 under coach Mikey Thompson. • The game between the Panthers and Kemp Yellowjackets will be the 78th meeting between the two Henderson County area schools. The No. 8-ranked Yellowjackets won last year 53-7 in Mabank.