• 45°

Panthers stalk state title berth

CHESAPEAKE – It’s not that the Chesapeake Panthers and their followers aren’t excited about advancing in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs.

Friday, November 12, 1999

CHESAPEAKE – It’s not that the Chesapeake Panthers and their followers aren’t excited about advancing in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s football playoffs.

The Panthers will battle Amanda-Clearcreek at 7 p.m. tonight in Athens.

But after making the playoffs three out of the last four years, Panther fans, coaches and players have learned not to get too excited before kickoff.

"Everyone is a little calmer," said Panthers coach Phil Davis. "This is the third time we have been there recently and I think we are getting used to it a little bit. Everyone is really excited, just a little calmer."

The Panthers are enjoying as much success in football as any team in school history. A perfect 10-0 season, an Ohio Valley Conference title and a first-ever playoff win last week when they knocked off Johnstown Northridge 13-3.

This was also the first time Chesapeake has finished the regular season undefeated since 1961.

"It has been awesome," junior Matt Ater said. "This is the first playoff win and the first time we went undefeated in almost 40 years."

Ater said the school had a few visitors last week who helped set the tone for the playoffs.

"Some of the players from the 1961 team came and talked to us at the pep rally last Friday and that was quite an honor," Ater said. "Everyone is excited to see where this team can go."

Senior quarterback Andy Clark has enjoyed his final season as a Panther player and hopes this year is not the end of the success.

"It has definitely been a great year for the program and, hopefully, this will boost the football program a little bit," he said. "Everybody in the community has been real supportive. They all want to know how we are going to do and how good the team is we are going to play."

Freshman cheerleader Ashley Blair can feel the excitement and knows it’s partially her job to keep it going.

"All the fans will be fired up. Our students and fans and parents will all be really excited," Miss Blair said. "They will bring cowbells and all kinds of noisemakers. We have a lot of crowd cheers and our crowd really keeps things going. That was our first playoff win ever and I think everyone is just excited about playing again this week."