Panthers varsity football stays positive after a rocky start

Matthew Ogle, Staff Reporter

The Friday Night football lights at Turner Stadium have finally returned, bringing the intensity and emotion of the football season.

The K-Park varsity football team has had a rough start, losing its first three games. But the Panthers are looking to the future as district play continues.

Second-year  K-Park head coach Clayton Maple, who has 21 years of coaching experience, has confidence that the team will prove itself as the district games begin. Compared to last year’s varsity football team, which had 16 seniors and a final record of 3-7, this year’s team is much younger — with four senior starters.

“I understand that we didn’t start as well as we planned,” Maple said, “but the team plays very hard from start to finish and I think we’ll show this school what we can do.”

According to Maple, the greatest challenge he has faced as a head coach is that he is “always wanting to make 100 percent sure that the players and coaches are focused and are on the same page.”

Senior offensive Guard Lennon Cancino, who is entering his third year of playing on the varsity level, is also disappointed with the team’s poor start to the season.

“We started very poor; I feel like we could’ve played a lot better,”  Cancino said. “We made simple mistakes: balls dropped, missed blocks, penalties, turnovers.”

Cancino’s greatest struggle in his high school football career has been his consistent knee injuries during football offseason. Cancino, who tore his meniscus and had surgery in May, feels that the first few games of the season were a learning experience and hopes that team will be fresh and ready to win some district games..

Second-year varsity quarterback Daniel Bresko, a junior, has confidence in the team.

“We haven’t played to our full potential yet but we still have a lot to show,” Bresko said.                   

Bresko was born with a birth defect on his left index finger that caused his finger to become filled with large amounts of blood. As a result, the finger became swollen and stiff. This past spring, his finger was amputated, and since the procedure, Bresko says that he has improved significantly.

“The finger used to be such a hindrance to me when I would throw the football or baseball,” said Bresko. “Now  that it’s been removed I feel like I can throw better since it no longer prohibits me.”

As the quarterback, Bresko is key to the team, but the school has yet to see him play enough to bring the offense to its full potential.        

“Hopefully we can go 7-0 for the rest of the season,” Bresko said, “to make the playoffs and grow as a team.”