PANHANDLE, TX (KFDA) - In the small town of Panhandle, football is king.
"There's two thousand people that live in this town, and on Friday nights, there are 2,000 people at the football game," said head coach Dane Ashley. "It's nice to be from a small community where this is the only show in town. Our high school is the biggest thing they've got on Friday nights, and we get great support from our town."
With full support from the community, this year's Panther seniors are prepared to shock 2-A.
"Being a small town, last year they didn't think we were going to be much.", said senior wide receiver Luke Ray. "The graduating class last year went 3-8 as an eighth grade team, so nobody was expecting much from them, and we got to a quarterfinal with them leading us. So just like last year, I think it's going to be something people aren't expecting."
One of the cons of playing 2-A football is each year, teams lose a decent amount of talent and that story's no different for the Panthers.
"You know, honestly in 2-A football it feels like you're replacing six to seven starters every year," said Coach Ashley. "I mean that's just kind of the way it goes in 2-A football. So I mean we're used to it, and I think these guys can get it done."
The Panther's weapon to getting the job done this season will be their tempo.
"Its been pretty intense. We really run the tempo out here and it's fast paced.", said senior quarterback Braden Dorc. "We're hoping we can have a whole new line in for offense and defense, so we can be running up and down the field with a new line, and they'll have their same line out there getting tired."
In order to move the ball up and down the field swiftly, Coach Ashley needs to see more efficiency from his team's air attack.
"I think we have to have more quality possessions in the passing game to be honest with you. We've go to be a little bit more efficient and get a higher completion percentage. It's something we've spent a lot of time on throughout the summer and the spring, so that's an area we need to improve," said Ashley.
When it's all said and done, this senior class wants to be remembered for their character
"I want them to think about people who are selfless, tough, mentally tough. People who do what they need to do, provided hard work to others and had leadership."
The Panthers will square off against Tulia to kick off their 2018 football season.