CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – The Walter Panas High School football team faces a must-win game when it hosts Lakeland on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Panthers' final regular season contest.
Panas went into Friday’s matchup against Somers with a 4-1 record. Much ado was made about the Panthers’ schedule coming into the matchup with the Tuskers. Panas had won four straight games against mediocre teams in Fox Lane and Beacon and against winless teams Riverside and Yonkers.
Panas then lost to Tappan Zee, which was 2-2 at the time, and suffered a 41-14 blowout to Somers, which was by far the best team the Panthers had faced all season.
So after the game, Panas head coach Daniel Patronik gave the Tuskers’ their due.
“Somers is a great team,” Patronik said. “They didn’t make many mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes. They’re a good team. They execute properly. They’re well coached. (Tony) Dematteo does a great job with these guys.”
Friday’s game was the only non-league matchup for both Panas and Somers this season, so it did not count against the Piner standings for either team. Section 1 uses the Piner points system to calculate the teams that will make the playoffs.
Panas is in Class A League 1, while Somers is in Class A League 2. The top four teams in each league will make the playoffs, and Panas currently sits at fifth in the Piner standings behind Sleepy Hollow, Harrison, Hendrick Hudson and John Jay. Panas has 1.2 points while John Jay, in fourth, has 1.7.
The Panthers will close out their regular season in what has become a crucial game against league opponent Lakeland.
Patronik said the team must take lessons from the loss at Somers and use them in the final regular season game.
“You’ve got to learn from the mistakes. You’ve got to move forward. You can’t come into any game and start beating yourself up with mistakes like we made,” Patronik said. “This was a crossover game, but we’ve got a big game next week against Lakeland so we’re going to regroup and take that shot at them and see where we end up, see where the chips fall.”