25 Teams in 25 Days: Pascagoula Panthers

Stop number nine of News 25’s ’25 Teams in 25 Days’ doesn’t really feel like it’s coming off a 1-10 season especially considering Pascagoula dominance over the past decade, a couple down years appear to be the exception to the rule.

For the Panthers, it is time to leave the past in the past heading into 2019.

Head Coach Lewis Sims said, “We’ve been to the pinnacle. We’ve been to the state championship game. And we’ve been in a 1-10 season. But you can’t let the wins and losses define your program.”

A combined record of 4-18 over the past two years has a way of making that 2012 run to the 5A State Championship game feel like a thing of the past. Conversely, it’s last year’s mark of 1-10 the Panthers are trying to turn into a distant memory. Defensive end Reginald Barnes said, “I forgot last year. I forgot about that. So it’s a whole new year, my senior year. We’ve got to do it as a family.”

“Unfortunately, there’s no reset button in life or football unless you’re playing Madden, of course. But we try to tell our kids there’s no reset button so forget about it. Move forward. Take your lessons. Take your lumps. And let’s go forward.”

Pascagoula’s road back to the days of six straight playoff appearances from 2011 to 2016 has a fresh pave upon its return to Region 4 Class 5A. The Panthers are buying into their clean slate with a motto known as ‘WAR FACE’ standing for ‘work, accountability, respect, family, attitude, character, and enthusiasm.’

“You’ve got to work.”

“Work.”

Linebacker/ full back Robert Knox said, “Work. You’ve got to work. It’s the only way we can get better. And accountability.”

Running back/ wide receiver Jacoryn Walker said, “We’ve all got to buy in as one. All be a family. All have blue heads, stay cool. Don’t have an attitude and all that, good character.”

Led by the 19 seniors, the Panthers are also embracing the idea of legacy. Despite all the amnesia stemming from a one-win season, Mufasa would probably say ‘remember who you are.’ Left tackle/ defensive end Landan Northrop said, “Biggest turnaround in history. We went 1-10 last year. We want to change that around this year.”

“Our fathers played here. Grandfathers played here. Got to bring it back home for them.”

“Last year is gone. Have you seen the new Lion King movie? (I have not.) In the Lion King, even in the old cartoon, Rafiki gets the staff and Simba is there not wanting to go back home and he clocks him upside the head and he goes what did you do that for? He said don’t worry about it, it’s in the past. That’s kind of where we’ve been as a football program, don’t worry about the past. We make our own destiny today.”

The Panthers wrap up summer workouts tomorrow afternoon before hitting the field Monday for the start of official practice.

They open up the 2019 campaign at Moss Point on August 23rd.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports

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