LUSBY, Md. – The Patuxent Panthers will play for their first State Championship since 2015 next weekend. The team advanced after defeating Harford Tech 43-21 in the State Semifinals.
“We have been here before. But not since 2015. It is a grind but so rewarding and exciting. We have all been together now for a long time,” Steve Crounse, Head Coach for Patuxent, told TheBayNet.com. “We try to change small parts of practice, or get them off the field a little earlier, and try to keep things as fresh as possible. It’s a mind game at this point. They understand the ultimate goal lies ahead of them but they are teenagers with a lot of things going on. We verbalize goals constantly – we slow down on contact – we break the game down into small pieces – and then we hope we are getting through to them. It is an amazing opportunity that they have earned. The community is buzzing with excitement. This is something that they will have for a lifetime – so that adrenaline should push us through. I am grateful that these boys can experience this time of year.”
Southern Maryland Football in general, has shown out this season. Calvert High School made it to the semi-finals as well but came up short against Dunbar, the undefeated reigning champs.
Leonardtown High School also had a milestone season, as they were able to secure their first playoff win in school history.
“Winning our first-ever playoff game was an amazing step for our program. It was great to do it in front of our home crowd who had been amazing all year,” Justin Cunningham, Head Coach for Leonardtown, told TheBayNet.com. “We definitely are developing a home-field advantage with the support that we get when we play at home. This season’s success is due in large part to our seniors and their leadership on and off of the field. They laid the foundation of how great teams should carry themselves. The future is bright in Leonardtown.”
With all of this success, the football community in Southern Maryland is buzzing. The community is excited for the future and proud of what the local teams have accomplished.
“Southern Maryland is a great place to raise kids. Young kids grow up watching older kids play sports and can’t wait to get to high school to have that name across their chest while they represent their family, school, and community,” says Micheal Watson, the Director of Facility Coordination, Physical Education, and Athletics for St. Mary’s County Public Schools. “There is a great deal of pride in all of our communities related to athletics. I have personally witnessed young kids admiring high school athletes as heroes and role models. You can’t have a greater impact than young kids in your community looking up to you and striving to be like you.”
Patuxent High School will face Dunbar High School for the 2022 2A/1A State Championship on Saturday, December 3, at noon in Annapolis.
The game will take place at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
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