Written by Clayton Alvaro Buhler & Media by Ryan St. Hill
In the past couple of years, the Panther football team has displayed a knack for second half comebacks which has made for some wild finishes. That the Panthers were a fourth quarter program also became evident this season. Whether it was the narrow, last minute road victories against Eureka and Crown, or the thrilling homecoming rally against Northwestern, the football team always rose to the occasion whenever adversity was present. So when the Panther offense started the final drive of the game against St. Scholastica down by six with a minute to go, most Panther fans were confident that the team would, once more find a way to win. However, this time the Panthers came up short, ending their undefeated season with a loss and giving up the conference title and the team’s first playoff bid. At a time like this, most teams would understandably fall apart, or at the very least hang their heads in defeat. Yet, when the clock struck zero and the Panthers’ disappointing fate was sealed, the team continued to chant their mantra, “I love EMAP.”
When the Panthers accepted a spot in the NCCAA Victory Bowl against a 9-2 Division II program, it seemed unlikely that Greenville would have much success. Indeed, the 67-0 loss was not the desired outcome. However, an article by columnist Jim Alred for the Rome News-Tribune revealed that the Panthers achieved a different victory, and a much more important one. In regards to the game and their season in general, he said, “Down by more than six touchdowns, the Panthers’ players on the sidelines jumped, danced, chanted and cheered. If not for the scoreboard, I would have thought the game was close, or Greenville even had a lead… It’s easy to say how much brotherhood means to your team when you’re winning. It’s another to show everyone how much it means even when you don’t” (“Panthers show heart in loss”). Greenville football head coach Robbie Schomaker told the team during the game that champions are born in adversity. Even though the Panthers ended their extraordinary season with no title to show for it, a championship caliber team was definitely born.