By Cutter’b Pritchard, staff writer and Alainia Erdos, photo editor
The numbers in the program may be small, but the hearts they have are something to mention. Although bodies help no matter the sport, “Kids have to do what’s right by them,” said first-year head coach Adam Horne. A lot of senior leadership for the team has been lost in this past year due to graduation, but there could be players stepping up for the struggling program to help them win their first game, and ultimately, make this season a successful one.
Junior Dane Rhoades, starting quarterback, said that his season would be successful if the team, “played an entire game instead of taking a half or a quarter (of the game) off.” Captain Tony Offi, junior and starting running back for the team (before he sprained his ACL) will be out for approximately six weeks. Offi said, “The team should’ve spent more time in the weight room, myself included.”
When asked about the loss of important players on the offense, Horne said that the seniors who graduated last year will obviously be missed, but the underclassmen are growing into the positions. One recent change in personnel has been at quarterback. Rhoades, who joined the team after the start of the season, is now the starting quarterback, a position formerly held by junior Zack Nishnick. Horne said, “Nishnick needed to go to the running back position because of Offi being hurt and Nishnick is being a team player.”
On the defensive side of the field, Offi said the defense is struggling in comparison to last season because of their lack in size, but senior Christopher Mattern-Gilchrist and junior Tyler Brooks are leading the defensive linemen. To summarize, Horne said, “a young team has growing pains.”
Although the team hasn’t won many games in the past few seasons and currently has a record of 0-4, they are rebuilding with new leadership, champion-like effort, and the mindset of winners. The Panthers will be in action this Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Eisenhower High School.