After a bitter state championship loss to the Star Valley Braves last year, the Panthers persevered


Greg Wise

The Panthers lined up at the 50-yard line of Powell’s football field to face the Star Valley Braves on Oct. 8. The Panthers came out on top, adding a victory to their record.

Revenge. Sweet revenge.

This one word described the aura that hung in the Powell Panther football stadium as cheers from Panther fans rang out from every corner of the complex the night of Oct. 2.

At game’s end, the Star Valley Braves marched off the field, heads hung low, after a 28-6 defeat. A contradictory ending to that of the 2019 Wyoming State 3A football championship, when the Braves celebrated their 49-13 victory over the Panthers in the center of UW’s War Memorial Stadium.

But this year’s win was a monumental accomplishment for many members of the Panther football team, especially for the seniors, who have never defeated Star Valley in their high school careers.

“The Braves were a whole different level of good last year,” PHS senior lineman Seth Horton said. “They were probably the best team in the whole state of Wyoming. Luckily for us, they only brought back three of their starting players from last year.”

After getting blown out at the 2019 Wyoming state championship, the Panthers knew they needed to persevere and make some changes this season.

“We came out a lot more physical and confident this time around,” PHS senior cornerback/tight end Kobe Ostermiller said. “We definitely could have got our rushing game started sooner, but thankfully it didn’t hurt us at the end of the day.”

The Panthers have not only made changes in their game play this season, but a shift in the head coaching position has also taken place. Mr. Chase Kistler, PHS Weights and Physical Education teacher, has taken the reins.

“Our coach is a leader,” Horton said. “We work hard for him because he works hard for us. Kistler has high expectations, and I think that pushes us to work hard and play harder.”

The Panthers are currently 5-1, tied for second in the 3A West Conference with rival Cody. The Broncs defeated the Panthers 14-0 on Sept. 25, handing the Panthers their first loss of the season.

A few weeks later, Star Valley beat Cody 21-14 on Oct. 9, which stamped the Broncs’ record with its first 2020 loss. That said, Powell has a fighting chance at contending for the state title this year.

“I believe we can win the state championship,” Horton said. “We just need to have each others’ backs and play together as a whole.”