PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Rutherford had a slow start last season, but managed to get it together towards the end of the year, nearly securing a spot in the playoffs.

Head coach, Loren Tillman said a tough offseason is what hurt them early on last fall.

“As the season went on we kind of played pretty good football near the end, so just kind of trying to build on that,” Tillman said.

Again this summer, the Rams dealt with challenges, losing returning players to other schools.

Stepping into the starting quarterback role will be sophomore Wy’kien Waters.

“I think the offensive front is going to be strong, I think our running game will be strong,” Tillman said. “Wy’kien Waters, he’s a young fella. Very athletic, talented, but it will take the pressure off him to let develop at quarterback, not feel like he has to go out there and win a ball game, just don’t lose it.”

One of the Ram’s top point producers last season was kicker, Johnathan Walker. Now that he’s graduated, they are working to find the best fit for this season.

“We don’t need to try to find Johnny Walker, we just need to find what works for this team and we’re in the process of doing that,” Tillman said.

Tillman said the strength of the team will remain on the defensive side of the ball, but a physical line on both the offense and defense they feel that they can match up with anyone on their schedule.

The Rams will open their regular season on the road as they visit the Chipley Tigers on Friday, August 26.