Emilea Holcomb saves a point against Hoover. Allen Hamrick photo.

The season ended  this past week for the Lady Panther volleyball team, and what a glorious ending it was. The Lady Panthers were in action at the sectional tournament. Here is where it would be determined who would move on to the regional level.

In the first round, the Ladies beat the Huskies of Hoover; it went the full five games in a best of five matchup. It was nail biting, to say the least. After winning that match, they had to go up against the Lady Grizzlies of Nicholas County. It would prove to be one of the toughest matches of the tournament. The Lady Grizzlies were good and underestimated the Lady Panthers just a little, and the Lady Panthers played some good volleyball. However, in the end it was the Lady Grizzlies on top. The Lady Panthers played Lewis county after that and the set went the complete five games once again with the Lady Panthers getting bragging rights with the win. Day two of the tournament was on Saturday, and it was going to be a fight to the finish. The Lady Raiders of Roane County were beat up by the Lady Grizzlies in a war. So, the Lady Panthers had to go head to head against the Lady Raiders of Roane County. In order for the Lady Panthers to move on to Regionals, they would have to beat Roane County twice. Beating a team with the talent that Roane has would be like cutting firewood with a 2×4. However, the Lady Panthers are equal with the best of teams when it comes to grit.

The Lady Panthers took down the mighty ladies of Roane in the first two games, then the wagon wheels fell off and the race was over. Roane beat the Lady Panthers in the next three games and the Lady Panthers headed home. The Lady Panthers played hard but just couldn’t get back to the same fire they had at the beginning of the match.  It isn’t to say that they didn’t take the games to the next level, but mistakes and fatigue proved too much. The girls had a good season and finished it by playing good, hard volleyball and giving us our money’s worth.

Getting yards was like nailing spaghetti noodle in a 2×4. Joey Varella photo.

Football season started off great with high hopes for the Panthers to make it to the playoffs for the first time in a long while. The Panthers were coming off a big win last week against Calhoun County, and were set to bring that momentum into the game against Webster County.    The Panthers wanted to go out on a good note, and they didn’t disappoint anybody. This game will go down as one of the best defensive  games they have played. On both sides of the coin the defense was tough, not allowing either side much of an advantage. The Panthers struck first putting six points on the board. After that, gaining yards was like pushing a log chain. The Highlanders came back with a score of their own late in the fourth quarter, the only difference was that the Highlanders were able to get the extra points, making the score 6-8. Late in the game the Panthers were able to get inside the Highlander 10 yard line. With first and goal to go for the Panthers, they went to the air, were intercepted and the ball was back in the hands of the Highlanders. Webster held onto the ball until time ran out.

The last time these two teams met, it was a different story – it went down to the wire with the Panthers coming out on top.  It was a good year for the Panthers however, finishing the season 6-4. The bar has been set high for the 2018 team. It was also senior night, the Panthers will be losing some good talent but others coming up will hopefully fill the voids.