Dreams are nice, but reality’s nicer

Following the Battle of the Bridge, the Panthers are optimistic about the coming season


August 30th, 2014. Year 88 of the Battle of the Bridge.

The rivalry is intensely heated (cue a reference here to the 90 degree weather the boys played in, eye black running like war paint, pouring water over each others’ heads) and the general sense in the community might be that a victory against Loudon High School is the most important win of the season. After all, it always is a point of pride to defeat one’s rival.

However, with thirteen years of head coaching experience under his belt, Jeff Cortez is jaded to the pressures of local rivalries. “I would say a district championship game or state championship game should far outweigh the importance of this game. It’s great to have a rival, it’s great to beat a rival, but in the scope of a season they are a non-district opponent and weigh very little in our title pursuits,” said Cortez

The final score of 31-10 might suggest a painful loss, but it was only after the half that Loudon broke a 7-7 tie with a

bit of chance. “I think the margin of victory for them was slim,” said Cortez. “There were four prominent plays and or calls that went their way. If we get two of those plays the outcome is different.”

Team captain and starting linebacker Matt Scott reflected on the game critically. “We played hard, but we made some costly mistakes on plays where we couldn’t afford them. We needed to play sound football for 48 minutes and that just didn’t happen.”

Scott indicated the game has altered the team’s approach in practice, but not significantly. Lenoir City football is still Lenoir City football, holding strong to Cortez’s fundamentals – “Executing offense, defense, and special teams to the best of our ability.”

As far as the rest of the season, optimism marches on. “I have no [apprehensions about this season],” said Cortez. “I’m excited about all the possibilities of our team.”

Panther football will continue on September 5th at Farragut High School.