Last Thursday, at the football dinner, it was an impressive sight to see 11 Sectional Championship trophies set out on the tables. However, they weren’t there so the 2016 Eastbrook Panthers could simply look at them and be reminded of the success of PAST programs. No, they were on display so this year’s team could see what it would look like to add a 12th trophy to the collection.
Twenty-four hours later, Zane Shilts kicks off to another Panther team, Elwood. After that opening kick our Panther squad proceeded to remain focused on claiming that 12th Sectional Title. It was encouraging to the fans, the coaches, and the players, to witness a team work so well as a unit to achieve the task at hand. It was great to hear the ‘life’ on the sidelines as players encouraged each other, putting into practice Coach Adamson’s words the night before, “This team is where it is because we all want every player in every role on every play to do his best.” The cheers for great effort were heard loudly and often as each player knew, as Coach pointed out earlier in the week, the 42-0 score from game 3 of the season would not be on the scoreboard at the start of this game. No, this 2-0 tourney team would be facing another 2-0 tourney team and both would start all over, in terms of score. The focus, the hard work, the drive, and the hours and hours of practice paid off, ending with shouts of victory, congratulations, and pride of a goal accomplished.
So here we are, a few days later. The celebration of the last game is still there but a new goal, another goal has been placed in front of this team, the next step on this year’s journey. Friday night, on our own field, our Eastbrook Panthers will fight for the Regional Title against South Adams. This will be a new contest for both teams and will undoubtedly have some jitters and hiccups on both sides of the ball. Yet, with a group of young men like this, with a singular focus to make the next snap, the next block, the next play, the best they can, it is very possible to collect another honor for this program, for this school, for this community. So come out and show your pride and support. Sure, it’s going to be cold, it’s November. But, hey, they don’t seem to be calling for snow. And you’ll warm up soon enough when the men in black take the field.
-article by Todd Syswerda