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'Selfless' attitude helps undefeated Reedsville Panthers earn No. 1 playoff seed

'Selfless' attitude helps undefeated Reedsville Panthers earn No. 1 playoff seed
Posted at 9:22 PM, Oct 18, 2023

REEDSVILLE — In 2021 the Reedsville Panthers high school football team won the Division 7 state title. Now in 2023, they won the Big East conference, earned a one seed in the playoffs and have a perfect record at 9-0.

But as much as this team would like to get back to Camp Randall, they’re just taking it one game at a time.

“Our motto which is just being 1-0, treating everything like a brand new week and every team – just respecting them and forgetting what success or not success we’ve had in the past and starting from scratch every week,” said second-year head coach Sam Shafer.

With any successful team, there needs to be a lot of cohesion in order to win. 

“Our whole thing is just having that family mantra and just being there for one another,” Shafer said. “We’re a band of brothers out here and we live and die and play and fail with each other and go through everything together.”

Nothing embodies being one big family more than doing anything you can to help your team win. Star junior quarterback and team captain Parker Maney never played QB before this year. On the season, he’s rushed for 1,694 yards and a whopping 23 touchdowns.

“I think the coaches saw somebody they could trust and I’m glad they chose me and I’m honored, honestly,” said Maney. “Whatever they needed (to help) team to win.”

“He’s been able to produce on and off the field," said Shafer. "He’s a great student and great kid — great community member. Just one of those kids that we really trust. That’s why he has a “C” on his jersey and that’s why he’s been in the role that he is. He’s been more than successful at it to put it simply.”

Senior Adler Strenn was an offensive guard last year and is now their starting running back.

“We’re selfless,” he said. “I think that we just care about each other and whatever is best for the team is the best for us.”

Strenn also leads the team in tackles and was on that 2021 title team. He said the biggest thing he learned from that senior class is how to lead by example. 

“You can say and boss people around all you want, but really doing what you say is really important,” Strenn. “People respected them and players respected them for how they performed and what they did in practice. I think that carried over into what they did on the field and how people acted towards them.”

The team was adamant they don’t want to talk about the future. They’re worried about this week. But to get back to Madison would be:

“It’d be something super special for this small town,” Shafer said. “2021 was such a special year for everybody around here and giving them the opportunity to do that again would be amazing.”

The No. 1 seed Panthers host Loyal on Friday night.