Vance, a Logan High School graduate, took the reins of the Panther football program last season and took a squad that had not won a game in the previous season to its fifth playoff appearance in school history.
The 2010 team was defeated by Magnolia in the post-season, but finished with a winning 8-3 season.
This year, Vance must replace Austin Vance, a graduate from that squad who was responsible for 3,002 all-purpose yards and led the state in scoring.
But, the coach’s numbers have picked up with incoming freshmen and a few transfers from Williamson High School after the school closed and combined with Burch, Gilbert and Matewan to form Mingo Central.
Coach Vance is holding voluntary practice for the next several weeks and 35 were out last week with that number expected to increase in the next few days.
“We’re getting back into the rhythm of playing football. We want to give them a feel for football again,” Vance said.
The team will not go full speed until next week. Vance said with the increase in numbers there are not enough helmets for the players. He is hoping that will be remedied by the time they travel to Logan to scrimmage on Tuesday.
Vance said Logan will come to Tug Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m. for another scrimmage with the Wildcats.
The first official day of practice is Aug. 1.