Panthers Fall To Pirates In Postseason Play
By N3 Sports Team and Panther Head Coach Doug Bolles
There is a rich football tradition in Hesperia.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s the school’s teams amassed an incredible 50-6-3 record over the course of seven years. Their first playoff appearance came in 1986 followed by a return in 1992 and three post season invites in the first three years of the current century.
Then the Panther fortunes changed as...
...their teams managed just one winning season over the following 11 years including four years when the school ended seasons without posting a single win.
Well, it seems the Panthers have regained their winning ways. Hesperia followed up last year’s breakout season with another fine performance that landed them in the playoff picture for the second consecutive year and has marked the return of the Panther Nation to pigskin prominence.
Although the Panthers are still seeking the first playoff win in school history after falling to an undefeated Pewamo Westphalia squad that has made lengthy postseason runs part of their annual November schedule the future looks bright for the CSAA Silver team that once ruled the long defunct NCAA.
We caught up with first year Head Coach Doug Bolles to get his take on the game against the still undefeated Pirates as well as a few words about the season and what may lie ahead for the Panthers.
Not the outcome we were hoping for but PW is an outstanding football team!
Jared Smith (P-W player) is a phenomenal back and he showed it during this game
We played with them in the first half, as we love to be physical as well, however their size and strength began to take over on the second half. I think we got their attention with our grit and toughness.
Kanin Witte gave us an early spark with his 85 yard kickoff return following PW first score to knot things up 7-7 following junior Delaney Hussey's PAT kick.
A real momentum changer came late in the second quarter, when Gerritt Yates ripped off a 70 yard run only to have it brought back on a penalty. It was extra costly as Yates went out of the game with a lower leg injury on the play and didn't return. Senior Gage Balkema added a late touchdown for the final margin of 48-14.
I thought Brendan MacAree played his best game of the season on both sides of the ball, leaving it all on the field. Gage Balkema gave his normal rock solid performance and Brandon Goins was bringing his punishing style of defense until leg cramps started to affect him later in the game. Juniors Kanin Witte and Scott Peters had stellar performances as well.
I'm really proud of this team for battling hard all season. It was a tough year for the kids, losing their head coach in late June to having me come on in late July. We didn't have a lot of time to get acclimated to one another, but I thought everything was positive and they accepted me very well.
I want to thank my four seniors Gage Balkema, Bobby Castillo, Brandon Goins and Brendan MacAree for accepting me, their 3rd head coach in four years.
Overall I'm happy with my first season, but I expect more out of myself. Next year with having a full offseason to work with these guys, I think we're going to be where we expect to be, but that's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
We have the talent, now we'll see if we have the will.