Despite a slow start to the season, the football team has regained its footing and is looking ahead to attain its first PAL championship since 2015, when it won the Bay Division. Led by a powerhouse offensive attack that has clicked on all levels, the Panthers picked up two big wins against Half Moon Bay (27-26) and South San Francisco (51-0).
“In the beginning of the season we struggled a little bit to come together but we’ve definitely joined and merged as a team,” cornerback Leo Bashaw said. “I’m feeling confident about our progress so far.”
The Panther offense struggled to find its footing early on, as coach John Philipopoulos experimented with different playcalls and personnel to try to cater to quarterbacks Jordan Malashus and Wyatt McGovern’s unique talents. However, after a loss at Live Oak in week three, Philipopoulos permanently inserted Malashus into the starting role, and the offense took off from there, scoring 49, 27, 51 and 36 points in consecutive games.
On defense, a strong front seven has helped to propel the Panthers to multiple strong outings, including a shutout against South San Francisco.
The Panthers, (6-2 overall and 3-0 in PAL play), are at the top of their division and hope to stay there. After a showdown against fellow frontrunner, The King’s Academy, the Panthers are just 1 game ahead.
“Ultimately we'd like a PAL championship, a CCS championship, but for now we are just going week by week, winning games, doing what we can,” Bashaw said.
The move to the PAL Ocean Division is increasingly looking like a good one, as a division title and CCS playoff berth are well within reach. With a deep senior class led by defensive anchors Noah Lavulo, Dylan Neeley, Scott Atkinson, Curtis Lauti and Youcef Benchohra, the Panthers must capitalize with this talented core or lose a chance to prove the viability of the program.