BGC 2018 Preview: O'Connor Panthers
Panthers looking for more after program-best record in 2017
HELOTES, Texas – A year removed from finishing with the best record in school history, the O’Connor Panthers are looking for more. In 2017, the Panthers finished with a perfect 10-0 regular season record, went 5-0 in zone play and advanced to the regional championship, where they fell to the eventual state runners-up, Lake Travis.
“That was definitely a special year,” said head coach David Malesky. “There’s no question that was an unforgettable season, but a lot of those guys that were part of that run are not here.”
The Panthers have plenty of positions to fill on both sides of the ball, with only five starters returning on offense and four on defense. Malesky remains confident in this year’s group.
“We still have enough guys that were starters and contributors on that team,” Malesky added. “We’re going to build and lead on those guys to help bring our younger guys up.”
One of the seasoned players Malesky will be relying on for leadership is senior wide receiver and safety Grant Rustan.
"When we lost last season, nobody knew what to do.” explained Rustan. “Everyone just felt bad, but no one really understood how great our record-breaking season was.”
Now the Panthers look to take it to the next level, with their eyes on a regional and state title.
“We’re really excited, everybody’s pumped up,” Rustan said. “I feel like everybody’s ready and the team is finally starting to click together.”
O’Connor kicks off their season on the road against the Steele Knights at Lehnhoff Stadium Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Both schools are ranked in the top five of the first edition of 12’s top 12 for the 2018 season.
“This year we’ve got a different team, obviously,” warned Rustan. “But I think we’re going to play well.”
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