BGC Game of the Week Preview: Reagan vs. O'Connor
Undefeated Panthers open playoffs with rematch against Rattlers
Now that the high school football regular season has come to an end, the second season, otherwise known as the playoffs, can begin.
Playoff games will kick off this Thursday night, but the Big Game in our Big Game Playoff Coverage will take place on Friday, when the second-ranked O’Connor Panthers put their undefeated record on the line against the fifth-ranked Reagan Rattlers. For the second consecutive season the Panthers enter the playoffs with an undefeated regular season record.
”It’s so special,” O’Connor’s senior outside linebacker Connor Callihan said. “People said we were really young this year, and just being here at 10-0 is just a dream come true.”
Meanwhile, the Reagan Rattlers posted an 8-2 overall record and finished 6-1 in District 27-6A this season, with their only district loss coming against the Madison Mavericks. For the Rattlers, it’s about striking back this season after the Panthers eliminated Reagan in the second round of last year’s playoffs, 45-21 at Farris Stadium.
“They knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so we’ve got to come in with a little edge,” explained Reagan’s duel threat quarterback Travis Stehle. “We just have to have that in the back of our minds and use that as motivation.”
“It’s very exciting, especially after last year,” Lucas Eatman the Rattlers senior linebacker said. “We took a tough loss in the second round against them after coming off a good win against Hays, but I’m really excited to go back against a really good team.”
“It’s a new season,” said Reagan senior wide receiver Konner Fox. “Everybody is 0-0 right now, so it’s a fresh start. We’re just as good as they are, so we’re going to come out and be ready to play Friday.”
O’Connor set a new school record last season with 13 straight wins, before suffering their first and only loss to Lake Travis in the state quarterfinals. Now, it’s all about taking the next step towards their first state title, and Reagan is the first team to stand in the Panthers’ way this postseason.
“The atmosphere is going to be great. It’s going to be crazy,“ says O’Connor senior left guard Brannon Brown. “Our fans always show up and it’s going to be a packed house. It’s just going to be like every other game we’ve played so far, just bigger and better because it’s the playoffs.”
“It’s two solid football programs going at it in the first round,” adds Fox. “It’s developing it’s own tradition and generating a rivalry throughout the city which makes it more fun for the playoffs.”
Find out who advances to the second round this Friday at 7:30 pm at Farris Stadium.