South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Consistency is key for Mehlville Panthers football in 2023 season

MHS football looks to move on from 2022’s 3-7 record
Photo by Erin Achenbach
The Mehlville Panthers football team is looking to improve this season after going 3-7 in 2022.

Consistency will be the key for the Mehlville Panthers gridiron squad this season.

Following a 3-7 campaign in 2022, Kent Heinemann’s squad is looking for some improvement on both sides of the ball.

“We have to be more consistent on defense and more balanced on offense,” Heinemann said.

Returning for the Panthers this season will be senior Josh Winston. Winston will see time at linebacker on the defensive side of the ball and tight end on the offense.

Senior Kaleb Gucciardo will also see time at tight end while holding down one of the linebacker spots on the defensive side of the ball.

One of the Panthers anchors on the line will be senior Devon Scott, who will play both offensive and defensive line.

Senior Mason Neinhaus will carry the load at running back along with juniors Jo’von Randle and Jeremiah Shelton. All three athletes will see time at defensive back as well for Mehlville.

Junior Colin Clark will look to handle quarterback duties, while a pair of sophomores, Jordan Hannam-Lewis and Marquise Jackson will also see time at running back. Hannam-Lewis will also get time on the defensive side of the ball at the DB position, while Jackson will see some time at the linebacker spot.

Two sophomores who are new to the varsity squad and should see some playing time as well are Khane Hoorman and Jordan Guitar. Hoorman should see time at tight end and the defensive end position, while Guitar will get time at running back and middle linebacker.

Heinmann said the team has made strides in offseason workouts and is looking to learn from a 3-7 season.

“Since we have almost everyone returning, we are playing more as a team,” he said. “We are way ahead of where we were this time last year.”

In fact, with nearly everyone back from last year’s squad, Heinemann looks to see improvement all over the field.

“I think we will be better offensively, defensively and on special teams with everyone coming back,” he said.

Though optimistic, Heinemann is also cautious.

“Even though we had many guys get significant playing time last year, we are still young,” the Panthers’ coach said.

Mehlville was scheduled to open the season Aug. 25 at home against Fox — after The Call went to press. It was a contest Heinemann said he was looking forward to.

“This will be our ninth annual ‘Huddle Up 4 Heroes’ game to raise money and celebrate all members of our armed services,” he said. “We will be collecting money and selling t-shirts. All proceeds go to H.E.R.O.E.S. Care.”

Last season, Mehlville opened the season against Fox with a 20-7 loss, so the Panthers were looking for some revenge to open the 2023 season.

Another big game on the schedule this season for the Panthers will be the week 2 contest against Oakville Tigers.

“Our kids certainly didn’t like losing to them at home 42-0 last season,” the Panthers’ coach said. “Our kids are ready for some redemption.”

While the team has put the struggles of 2022 behind them, a lot was learned according to Heienemann.

“We took our lumps with a young talented group last year,” he said. “They are more experienced and mature this year.”