The 2016 Eastbrook Panthers are in the Sectional Finals! But last Friday’s game was not JUST another step towards postseason success. Those of you who follow Eastbrook football know that we were in this position a year ago, undefeated and looking forward to a deep run in the postseason – that is until we headed to Winchester and were stopped on our quest. It was quite a heartbreak, one that many involved with last year’s squad do not want to discuss as they try and forget.
But THIS year… This year a sectional victory in round 2 meant that this year’s team was able to return the favor to the Winchester players and fans. Last Friday, our Panthers were able to put up a big first half lead but then come out of the halftime locker room on a mission. Big hits and big plays seemed to define this game and the Winchester seniors were able to feel the pain of watching the clock run down on the game and their season. But this is not gloating. No, this is smiling in relief that a mental block from season ago is now behind this team.
Now is the large task of heading to another hostile field and facing another tough team in order to claim another Eastbrook sectional title. As Coach Adamson so wisely stated on Friday, “There is no presentation ceremony for winning round two.” Have we faced Elwood this year? Of course. But, to anyone who has driven by Eastbrook High School, the wisdom of our coaching staff is displayed for all to see – “Never Underestimate Your Opponent.” Both teams playing on Friday night are 2-0 in the postseason (as well as both being the Panthers). For one team, the season ends when the clock hits 0:00 but for the other, another week to practice, strategize, perfect, and come out to fight again. I say, here’s to OUR Panthers being the team that gets back to work on Saturday.
If you’re reading this on or before Friday, kick-off is at 7:00 and you still have time to bundle up, grab a thermos of hot cocoa, and head to Elwood High School to cheer on these committed men (both players and coaches). Lend your voice to the cheers and get ready to hear just a little cowbell.
-article by Todd Syswerda