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Acadiana Kickoff Tour: Pine Prairie Panthers

New coach ignites new hope
Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 03:19:55-04

Pine Prairie Panthers
2019 Record: 0-9
Head Coach: David-Michael Carrell
Notes: Still seeking first playoff birth

2020 starts a new chapter at Pine Prairie, one led by David-Michael Carrell (said like Steve Carell.)

At 24, he's one of the youngest head coaches in the state, but with bevy of coaching mentors, he feels ready to lead.

"I think it's a lot having very good head coaches that I played under, very good relationships with them," he said. "They let me reach out to them anytime day or night if I need information."

As a player, Carrell started at Southern before transferring to LSU. He was a back-up long snapper before epilepsy forced him to walk away from the game.

"You don't get to choose when you hang up your cleats and that kind of situation," he added. "I always wanted to coach and that was a big thing that helped jump start that."

Carrell finished his degree at Nichols and was an assistant at Ellender high school the past two years, working for his former head coach David McCormick. This fall he tackles his toughest challenge, leading a program that's never really tasted success.

The Panthers have never been to the playoffs, and last season the team went winless for the fifth time since 2005. But perhaps the team has had enough losing. Perhaps that frustration can drive change.

"We were really disappointed," said senior linemen Corey Higginbotham. "We tried our hardest on some of them. It really hurt our seniors and hurt me to not see them get a win their senior year."

Carrell replaces Yves Prince who retired after last season. His young age will allow him to connect to players in a very different way than many other coaches, and perhaps that's another reason players are inspired to start a winning tradition.

"We're setting pretty high expectations for ourselves with a new coaching staff and new plays," said senior punter and safety Wyatt Welsh. "We're trying to start building up our program. I think we'll be alright."

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