Panthers take the field for the blue v. white scrimmage

By Griff Servati
For the Van Alstyne Leader
The Panthers took the field in their intrasquad blue vs white scrimmage on Saturday, August 7th.

Players have been divided into two teams for practice rotations from the first day of practice for the Van Alstyne Panthers. The two teams were featured in scrimmage action on Saturday, August 7th. The event starts the timeline of scrimmages leading up to the first game against Boyd on August 27th.

Mikeal Miller spoke after the performance about the progress.

Senior Gavin Montgomery tosses a tennis ball to a JV player who had just scored a touchdown in a celebration.

"Kids have been working hard. Leadership is starting to show, and we are excited to continue to get better each week." That leadership and growth of younger players into experienced ones is a key to this year's team.

Junior running back Jaden Mahan saw limited action in the scrimmage. Mahan coming off a torn ACL at the end of the season knew he would have limited activity. After a power run, he knew his day was over, saying, "oh man, I can't believe I'm done, but that was fun." An example of the leadership in what Coach Mikeal Miller spoke to us about was seen in Mahan being actively involved in helping younger players after his action was complete. When it was time for the JV squad to get reps, Mahan was in the huddle with them, and when that offensive group scored, he was in the endzone congratulating the group.

Players celebrate a forced turnover by dunking the ball into a trash can at their scrimmage.
Players go live in the first scrimmage of the year.

Last year, the Panthers fielded a varsity team with many new faces to the varsity team who were younger. The year of playing time at the varsity level understood expectations, and stepping into leadership roles is a focus for the 2021 Panthers. Senior Quarterback Gavin Montgomery spoke, "last we were young and had a lot of kids with first-time varsity experience, and now they have a full year and offseason behind them. I think we will be a lot better."

A fun tradition that the coaches use to motivate during this scrimmage is two big play celebrations. The first being on a touchdown, the scoring player gets a plastic baseball bat and is tossed a tennis ball to try to hit. The result is usually a humbling wiff on the ball, which is hard to connect with full football pads. After a forced turnover, the defensive side is rewarded with an opportunity to dunk the football in a trash can.

Mikeal Miller is watching over the blue / white scrimmage.

The Panthers will meet up with Pilot Point in a scrimmage this Friday night. The team will take the home field at 7 pm.

Coach Terry Land gives some instructions to linemen in the scrimmage.