PEN Football Has Restored The Roar
• The Peninsula football team played in the Division 11 CIF finals after having the program canceled just three years ago because of not enough players.
Panther football is officially back.
After dropping the program three years ago, the Peninsula Panthers finally competed in Bay League this year. The team finished the year 6-4 in the regular season, including a 3-2 record in the Bay League.
The Panthers qualified for the Division 11 playoffs as an eight seed and fought their way to the championship game, coming just one game short of a CIF championship. Regardless of the outcome of the final playoff game, the future is once again looking bright for Peninsula football.
The team was very close this season on and off the field. Peninsula will miss all its seniors who stuck with Panther football even when their season was cut short in 2015.
This class of seniors had to grow into leaders to get this young, inexperienced team to the CIF championship. Two captains, quarterback Ethan Gretzinger and running back Ethan Han, became the team leaders.
When asked about stepping into a captain’s role, Han replied, “It was a great experience for me to help the younger kids. The biggest challenge was having to face a lot of diversity and helping the team’s confidence.” Han had his best season of his career this year and led the Panthers on and off the field.
The seniors understandably are leaving behind memories and a group of guys considered to be family.
Said Gretzinger, “Football gave me a family who looked out for one another. Each person was different, but we all cared about one another.”
Many players feel the same and think of the team as a family. Nearly 50 players spent the last 6 months practicing together nearly every day. The bond that was created this year was extra special because of the extra four playoff games. The experience this year was like no other for these football players.
The Panthers will have to work hard this offseason to return to the playoffs and compete for a Bay League title.
The Panthers have talented junior quarterback Jack Haworth returning along with many other starters. This young group of Panthers now has playoff confidence, and they know what it takes to compete.
Two-way starter Luke Seymour will be entering his senior season and his third year on varsity. When asked about what needs to take place next year to return to the championship game, he said, “ Everyone needs to continue to work hard throughout the offseason and to remain close on and off the field.”
The Panthers are proud of their season but are hungry to compete next year.