Van Alstyne 2016 Football Preview
Starters returning: 6/6 (O/D). 2015: 6-5
The 2016 Van Alstyne Panthers can be summed up in one word, leaders.
"We have to practice hard and play hard," Senior linebacker Caleb Blackwell said. "It's our senior year and we need to enjoy it."
The Panthers graduated 17 seniors in 2015, but 11 new seniors are ready to fill that gap.
"You always hope those guys left a decent legacy for the juniors and sophomores behind them, to step in and be our leaders," Panthers head coach Mikeal Miller said. "We've got a good group of seniors this year that are stepping up to be the leaders we need them to be."
"I expect our players to bring hard work every day, and I'll do the same," Senior TE/DE Mason Adams said. "The way I'm going to lead is if they bring the work, I will as well."
Coach Miller says the Panthers' success will depend on their ability to string together quarters, games and finally, weeks.
"Last couple of years we haven't been consistent, we would play well one Friday night and not play well the next," Miller said. "We're leaning on these kids to develop a different culture around here, a little bit higher expectation than what we've had the past couple years. Hopefully, that will be enough to get us into the postseason."
The Panthers hope they can duplicate the success of the basketball and baseball teams and have the chance to play on the biggest stage at the state tournament.
"Basketball last year went to state, we want something along those lines," Michael Hensley said, a Senior who played basketball last season. "We had the leadership last year in basketball, we'll see if we can carry it over into football."
"That's where we want to be, but that's up to us in how we practice and how we play," Blackwell said.
Van Alstyne opens the season August 26, at home against Dallas Hutchins.