Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Local teams made us very proud

Danny Daniels

By Danny Daniels
May 12, 2017 at 4:02 p.m.

It's hard to believe the academic-athletic school year has virtually come and gone. The 2016-17 September through May period when local sports teams are in action is about to come to a close and with it another string of positive memories that will be forever etched in the subconscious of our young people. Let's take a look at argueably the top two news makers.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell us when the happiness for many in Panola County began. Simply turn back the clock to Oct. 4 when the Carthage High School football playoff season began. You all realize know the details of the school's fifth state title march in 10 years began. Factor in a 34-30 triumph over Silsbee, a 41-6 blistering 41-6 of North Forest, a 33-31 thriller in a rematch against Henderson, the 27-26 heart-stopping win against Stafford in Lufkin, a 26-20 conquest at The Star in Frisco and a 31-17 Dec. 16 championship victory over Abilene-Wylie in Jerry's House and the six-week trek to the title is complete.

The athletic school year was not limited to the prep ranks as Panola College took a No. 1 ranking to the national year in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Casper, Wyoming November 17-19. It was the program's second appearance overall and first since 2009.

The tournament began with an opening round win against Hill College in five sets followed by a quarterfinal loss to Santa Fe Community College.

In the final two matches of the tournament, Panola fell to Salt Lake in Game 3, before closing out the weekend with a five-set comeback win over No. 3 Western Nebraska to secure a seventh place overall finish in the country and a 35-4 record (including 17 wins over teams nationally-ranked in the top 20 at some point during the season).

The Fillies were undefeated in District H conference play, finished Region XIV Champions, compiled a 27-match winning streak that lasted from September 3 to November 17, received 10 total All-Conference selections including superlatives Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, and was ranked No. 1 in the country for the final three weeks of NJCAA Division I polls.



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