Watervliet Pressbox by John Oliphant
Panther football woes continue
The Panther football team’s tough season continued on Friday, October 12 when they faced the Schoolcraft Eagles at Panther Stadium on a cool and wet evening. The Panthers came into the game with a 2-5 record, while the 10th-ranked Eagles came in at 6-1. Last year the Panthers ended the Eagles’ season in the playoffs, so the Eagles came with extra motivation and likely some payback in mind as well.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff then scored on just two plays. Likely all-state running back Kobe Clark, who scored a state-record nine touchdowns against Constantine two weeks prior, was everything he was advertised to be: patient, extremely quick, and tough to tackle.
Following the Eagles’ first score, senior Jakob Aldrich caught the big kickoff at the 10 yard line for the Panthers then ran all the way for the score. The try for two extra points failed, making the score 7-6 with just 1:40 gone in the game. Watervliet was hoping for a shootout, but that would be all the scoring and the only Panther highlight, other than a Kris Lenox fumble recovery late in the first half.
The final home game of the season ended at 65-6 as the weather worsened.
Next week the Panthers travel to Coloma and the 100+ year cross-town rivalry game.
Panther boys run to 2nd Place at SAC meet
The boys cross country team continued to improve upon their impressive season by finishing second place at the SAC meet in Delton. Saugatuck ran away with the win, which was no surprise for the favorite to win the Division 4 state championship. If the Panther boys continue improving at this pace they could do very well in the Division 3 regionals on October 27.
Gus Hinch and Ezra Troyer earned First Team All-Conference honors at the meet. Facing strong winds and the sudden arrival of late fall temperatures, Junior Gus finished 5th in 17:47 and sophomore Ezra was 8th in 17:59. Kade Van Niel, Matthew Hanks, and Trever Pelton were packed crossing the finish line in under 19 minutes, earning All-Conference Honorable Mention for all three.
Austin Roberts returned to form running a 20:00 while Camdon Geisler, Mason Pennington, and Jake Kroepel all set new personal records.
Lady Panthers take on Brandywine and Bridgman
On Tuesday, October 9 Watervliet hosted a quad volleyball meet with Brandywine, Kalamazoo Christian, and Bridgman. The Panther gymnasium was filled with noisy and exciting volleyball action for several hours.
The Panthers faced Bridgman in their first match. In game 1 the Lady Panthers had a six-point lead but couldn’t hold on, falling 25-17. Game 2 saw the Panthers stay close at 11-13, but the Bees were able to win 25-16 despite impressive kills by Elaine Koshar.
Game 3 was close throughout. Strong serving from Mikalah Clay and Susanna Van Lente keyed a mid-game comeback and the eventual 25-21 win. In game four neither team ever led by more than three.
Koshar made a dramatic kill to earn her own serve, but the Bees defense proved tough and they won the game 25-23 and the match 3-1.
The Panthers next faced Kalamazoo Christian, who gave a powerful Brandywine team all they could handle in their opening match. The Panthers played well in the first match, losing 25-19. But then the young KC Comets team took charge, winning 25-12 and 25-17. The match featured several highlight volleys and good blocks and kills.
Total stats: Grace Smith 47 digs, one kill; Mikalah Clay 25 assists, two kills, two blocks, five aces; Elaine Koshar 15 kills, four digs, six blocks, three aces; Emma Armstrong 19 digs, five kills, one ace; Susanna Van Lente seven aces, four digs, one block, two aces; Tekoa Marshall three kills, one dig; Emma Yazel two kills.