Countdown to Kickoff: Paint Branch Panthers

Countdown to Kickoff

BURTONSVILLE, Md. (WDVM) – Under 15th year head coach Michael Nesmith, Paint Branch football is a perennial playoff team, but even they have to overcome adversity from the pandemic shortened season.

“In the Spring season, the shortened season we had, we didn’t really have that much time to prepare,” Paint Branch senior athlete and Northwestern commit Octavian Smith Jr. said. “Like being blessed to have this opportunity to play a full season and get like a full summer worth of work. We’re all just trying to make the best of the opportunity.”

After the 2021 spring season, Nesmith says this summer the team has been going back to the basics.

“All those things that would’ve been ingrained at this point, there was such a large disconnect, that we’re having to bridge that and reteach things that we normally wouldn’t be teaching at this time,” Nesmith said.

The Panthers definitely have some talent, with Smith Jr. leading the way, but nothing is coming easy in 2021 for Paint Branch.

“First we have to build back the program, since we kind of lost that in the spring because of COVID and teach them what that is and then make sure that they buy into that this year,” Paint Branch senior wide receiver and safety Isaiah Russell said. “Being ready, studying your plays, going hard every day in practice and then it’ll be easy on the field.”

Paint Branch opens its season hosting on Einstein on Friday, September 3.

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