Multiple Teams · Knowing What It Takes (Week 13 – Regional – video)

When a 5 year old first starts playing soccer (yes, I realize it’s a bit out of character to mention ‘soccer’ in a high school football video), the player sometimes possesses this odd belief that their leg holds the power to kick the ball all the way across the field, like a laser, and into the goal.  There is the idea that all it takes is that one ‘thunderous shot’ to wow everyone, including themselves.  And when my kids and I were in Taekwondo, it was common to witness the early, young student, believing there was enough power in their punch that one mere strike would knock an opponent down, if not out.

When we hit this point of the season, there may remain the belief that one early strike could be the game changer or winner.  However, it is the disciplined team that holds onto its coaches words from the brutal heat in mid-August, when the players basically went to practice, EXPECTING to feel a bit (or more than a bit) sick after all was said and done.  It is the well-conditioned team that knows an early streak, a quick score, or a trick play may not hold up as well in the depths of the 4th quarter.  It is the confident team that continues to ‘play its game’ when things don’t always go its way. It is this type of team that typically comes out on top.  Last Friday, at Lapel, we witnessed, past the steam of our own breath, an Eastbrook Panther team that, as Coach Adamson said on Thursday night, has been battle tested, has been to this place before.  We saw a team as willing to play in the 20 degree November evening as they were to work out, pulling sleds in the 90 degree August sun.  We saw a team that was one unit – one team – with one mission, led by a single-minded coaching staff.

So here we are again, Semi-State. That big hurdle that separates programs, and categorizes teams from being ‘a flash in the pan’ to ‘a perennial contender.’  And this Friday, two solid programs, two ‘perennial contenders’ meet at Eastbrook to determine who gets to take that honored trip to Lucas Oil Stadium.  Fans, this is the LAST time this season you’ll be able to see our Panthers at home, in black.  THIS is ‘Senior Night’, the final time 17 of our young men will walk onto the field they know and love better than most.  This is the time to come together as a community of Eastbrook supporters, armed with loud voices and louder cowbells and let any opponent understand why Eastbrook field is one of the toughest places to play in this state.  Let’s cheer these guys on to victory, to another State Final. Let’s join them as they exceed expectations!


-article by Todd Syswerda




Panthers News · Nobody Said It Would Be Easy (Week 12 – Sectional Final – Video)

We all ‘know’ that when the tournament starts, every week is win or go home.  We all ‘know’ that the deeper a team goes into the tournament, the tougher the opponent will be. We all ‘know’ that records or stats or previous games or “we beat the team that beat this team by ____ points” mean absolutely nothing.  Yet there is that recollection of a lopsided season where the expectation is things MIGHT be easy.

Cut to last Friday night.  Lewis Cass came to EHS and, along with our Panthers, demonstrated what a ‘football slugfest’ looked like.  Two tough defenses, that hit their opponents hard, went head to head – literally – for 48 minutes. Granted, the fact that our Panthers play again tomorrow night at Lapel, means that the team in Black prevailed, but it wasn’t the type of game we as fans have become used to this year.  There was no 50 point first half, there were a number of punts, there was poor field position, and there were tense moments.  However, when the final 0:00 showed up on the scoreboard, I know everyone on the Eastbrook side of the field breathed a sigh of relief.  Not because we didn’t believe in our guys but because we experienced the second game in as many weeks that the team on the opposite side of the ball was tougher than any team the 2017 Panthers have faced this season.

Cut to tomorrow night… plan on making the nearly hour drive. Plan on bundling up tight. Plan on yelling your head off.  Plan on ringing those cow bells. And plan on another game that keeps your heart racing and your hopes high.  Everyone knows the for the 2017 Eastbrook Panthers to truly Exceed Expectations, this is the next step.


-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · “Back In Black” (Week 11 – Sectional Round 2 – video)

Yes, you read that right…the Eastbrook Panthers will be BACK this Friday night, in their BLACK jerseys to take on Cass High School and play for another Sectional Championship! For the many of you who made the trek to Rensselaer, who braved the winds whipping across the field and into your face, it APPEARS you will be rewarded with a break in the November rain and a clear night for some great football action.

For those of you who weren’t able to make the trek mentioned above, let’s just say that there was a whole new set of feelings and emotions in this game.  There were some firsts such as:
– Last Friday’s game was the first time we’ve been behind all season (even if it was only 3-0);
– Last Friday was the first time we haven’t scored a point in the first quarter;
– Last Friday was the first time we – as fans – felt that unfamiliar, yet most likely to keep finding its way to us, the pressure of a close game against a good team.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by those things if we are fortunate enough to see our Panthers continue winning and ringing that Eastbrook bell. But, with the memory of this season still fresh, it was an odd sensation.

If you’ve followed the Eastbrook Athletic website, you’ve noticed an article claiming Eastbrook Stadium is one of the toughest places to play football in the state.  I would suggest we try and move up in those standings this Friday and make it THE toughest place to play.  That can only happen if we, as fans, pack the stands and raise our voices to support a team that continues to pour it on, attempting to greatly exceed expectations.


-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · The ‘Secret’ Is Out (Sectional, round 1 video)

If anyone wondered if the hype surrounding the 2017 Eastbrook Panther football team was just that…hype…or truth, all doubt was put to rest this past Friday night.

Eastbrook marched into Greentown to take on Eastern Comets and put on a show.  They hit hard, ran fast, played with enthusiasm, and encouraged everyone – from teammates to coaches to fans – that this team is serious in this postseason. Granted, everyone in and around Grant County knows this is the TYPICAL Eastbrook output this year but to those less informed…

The Panthers are on a mission and are showing the importance of focus on each play.  The beautiful part is, this wasn’t a perfect game for Eastbrook.  There were some lapses in discipline and execution, which should make people watching the brackets very nervous if they see “Eastbrook” next to their team’s name.

This Friday will be a test.  Rensselaer has proven to be strong in the past and, based on record alone, have demonstrated to be a team that ends up on top of many contests.  The game will be held at 7:00 p.m. CENTRAL time, so sneak in that nap sometime between now and Friday so you have the energy to keep supporting these guys as they continue to exceed expectations.

-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · Something to Celebrate! (Week 9 video)

What a regular season!!  Anyone who looks at this season for the 2017 Eastbrook Panthers is going to be in a state of disbelief.  Aside from the 9-0 record, the Grant 4 Champs, the CIC Champs, and Coach Adamson’s 250th victory as the leader of this program, it would be staggering to tally up things like:

  • Total points scored vs. allowed
  • Total yards on offense
  • Total yards allowed on defense
  • Field position
  • Number of ‘kick’ the Eastbrook Cheerleaders had to execute to this point!

All of the things listed above would boggle the mind!  I’m sure there are totals of all the stats mentioned and, at some point, those things will make us all look at this season and smile.

But… a new season starts tomorrow.  This season has no guaranteed games and the impressive stats accumulated so far mean very little.  This next season has an escalating intensity as any game can end it or move it to a bigger contest the following week.  It’s a season that can only be played one game, one half, one series, or one snap at a time. Things as seemingly small as one play have the potential to make or break.  This is the thrill of “Friday Night Lights”!

Tomorrow night, Eastbrook decends on Eastern High School. I’m sure their coaches, players, and fans have heard rumors.  Let’s show them what a disciplined, practiced, excited, and loyal team and community really looks like!



-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · Not A Normal Night (Week 8 Video)

There was something in the air.  And, no, it wasn’t JUST the smoke from the BBQ grill down by the Eastbrook bell.

Last Friday night, there was a chance for the 2017 Eastbrook Panthers to be a part of history. Coach Adamson was in line for his 250th victory as a head football coach.  When you think that even with the tournament, the most games almost any time would play is 15 per season, you understand the big deal behind this.

However, that wasn’t the only thing that made October 6, 2017, a little different than other Friday nights in Grant County.  At Eastbrook, it was Senior Night. It was a chance to show just a fraction of our appreciation to our seniors in ALL Fall sports – Boy’s and Girl’s Soccer, Boy’s and Girl’s Cross Country, Volleyball, Golf, and Football.

Yet, even with all of those special instances, things were a bit…funny.  We haven’t really experienced a game with much rain this season…it rained.  We haven’t had a team try to pass the ball much against us…Alexandria passed (a LOT – with a Left Handed QB). We haven’t had a team in our red zone much at all this season…Alexandria was knocking more than once. Yet, with any and all of the drama, if one looked at the scoreboard, it seemed like a ‘normal’ night for Eastbrook football.

This week marks the end of the regular season for this 2017 squad.  Our Panthers will be playing for a Conference Championship and for another undefeated season.  It’s looking to be a gorgeous Friday night so why not make the trek over to Blackford High and see if you can scream over the cowbells, cheering our guys on to victory?


-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · “Aim Small, Miss Small” (Week 7 video)

To a movie buff, this quote from Mel Gibson’s, “The Patriot”, is one that sticks with you.  Teaching his young sons to defend their home, he offers this piece of advice if they ever find themselves in a spot where they need to do something horrific.  Despite the context of the reference, this phrase is something that any sports team can embrace.

It’s easy to think of what a great season (again) this Eastbrook squad is having. It’s easy to go into a game with the expectation that the Panthers will show some level of dominance.  It’s almost easy to think that this ALREADY has been a successful season… I mean we’ve beaten county rivals, we’ve regained ‘Frank’, we’ve shown lopsided stats in scoring/offensive yards gained/defensive yards allowed.  On the surface this has been a great year!

But the goal of this year was never ‘just’ to win games.  It was never ‘just’ to be the Grant 4 champ.  There is one goal.  One tiny goal that lives out there, weeks away.  Granted, to get to THAT goal, there are many little battles to face and many obstacles to overcome. And in overcoming those, other honors will be gained. But that goal, that elusive, almost mythical thought that all of us have dared to think about, even if we’re nervous to voice it, is there.

Eastbrook Panthers, it is getting to that point in the season where each snap, each play, each possession, each assignment, each practice, each meal, each night of rest, and each football thought is being done with one goal in mind.  Win the last game you play.  We believe in you and can’t wait to watch that focus come to life tomorrow night against Alexandria.  Seniors, this night is yours.  Lead the charge and know that your leadership to this point has brought a large, hungry, unified group of warriors behind you.


-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · A Storm’s a’ Comin’

I’ve lived the vast majority of my life in the midwest.  If you’re from here, you know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather, give it a few minutes and it will change.”  When storms would come in, they’d be relatively quick and if SERIOUS weather was forecast, it was usually preceded with, “the conditions are right for ___________ (fill in the blank).”

However, these past few weeks, the concept of ‘hurricane’ has been quite a hot topic.  I’m not sure how I’d handle KNOWING a storm was coming DAYS in advance, and knowing that in all truth, I could do very little to prepare.  I mean, how would we react if a tornado the size of Grant County was on its way here in 36 hours?  How would we prepare for that? How could Puerto Rico face the sunshine and calm seas, KNOWING that on the back of one major storm, another was headed directly for them?

Not to belittle anyone suffering through that kind of devastation, but I wonder how the opponents of this 2017 Eastbrook Panther football team feel, looking at their schedules and seeing “Eastbrook” listed?  I mean, by now they’ve heard the rumors.  They’ve read the write-ups.  Maybe even they’ve seen some video footage.  Regardless of all of that, there is only so much preparation that can be accomplished before the storm makes landfall.  You can always put some plywood on the windows, possibly lay some sandbags to hopefully minimize the flooding, but when you see the satellite imagery showing a storm the size of your entire state (Florida), there must be a sense of defeat.

Facing a team like this year’s Panthers is possibly a bit defeating for some. They have to KNOW that when they receive the kick-off, they will be met VERY quickly by the self-proclaimed (and living up to its name) “Hit Squad.”  When a quarterback takes a snap, he must feel the heat of a blistering fast line cutting off most if not all of his options.  When a defense is confused by all the activity in the Eastbrook backfield and, before they know it, see one of three or four or five players breaking away from the clash of linemen, they have to wonder, “What else could we have done?”

Then, to top things off, our Panthers, under the tutelage of a fantastic coaching staff, study each game, play, assignment, and ‘head back out to sea’ to gather more strength, only to bring the storm to another opponent on another Friday night.  Who’s next?  Hello, Frankton… we’ll be making landfall in a few short hours.


-article by Todd Syswerda


Panthers News · Where Are the Toughest Places to Play? Nominate Now:

We here at VNN are doing a feature for our national media site highlighting the toughest places to play in all of high school sports and we want to hear from YOU what Stadium/Field/Gym/Course/Venue is the toughest to play and why?

Be on the lookout for the final feature coming soon on!


Presented by:

Panthers News · Panthers Race Past the Golden Eagles

Written by Reid Aupperle & Milo King – Student Reporters (Eastbrook South)

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Friday night the Eastbrook Panthers dominated the Oak Hill Golden Eagles 64-0. Andrew Barajas (#22) had an amazing game, running for 4 touchdowns and taking a lateral/hand-off punt return back for an electrifying score. Mason Hale contributed a pick on defense and did great as the team’s quarterback as well. In addition, Davon Wallace ran for 2 touchdowns, but also got injured and left the game on crutches. The Golden Eagles on the other side didn’t do much against the Panther defense, only getting a couple of first downs vs one of the best defensive units in the state.

“If it wasn’t for the line and the blockers up the field I wouldn’t have done it,” Barajas said.

Mason Hale (#18) also credited the lines on both sides saying that “if it wasn’t for the offensive line I wouldn’t be able to make good throws or get the hand-off right.”

Davon Wallace (#37) who ran for 2 long touchdowns said that it “just feels great with the fans standing up for you in the stands and your teammates cheering for you on the sideline.”

Justen Singer #15 said, “that it feels great running down the field but if the line wasn’t there I couldn’t do it.”

The Panthers return to action this Friday when they travel to Frankton.

Official start time:7:03 p.m.
Start weather: 89 degrees fahrenheit and sunny.


2017-09-22 21.34.42