Panthers ready to defend state title

Panthers ready to defend state title

LANETT, Ala. (WTVM) - The Lanett Panthers have been one of the area’s dominant football programs the past four seasons.

The Panthers have racked up a 50-5 record in that time with three region titles and two state championships.

For the past month they’ve been busy hoisting weights, looking to return to the promised land and add to the trophy case. Realignment moved the defending Alabama Class 1A state champs to 2A, which is where they won the state title three years ago, but they’re bringing a whole raft of returning starters.

Head coach Clifford Story is excited about the possibilities.

“We’ve got a lot of experience coming back,” Story said. “We only lost one skill guy from last year, the rest of ‘em is back. Our whole offensive line is back except for one guy. Defensively we’re solid. We’ve got a lot of key guys returning and so I’m expecting a lot from those guys as far as leadership, being able to bring the younger guys along, so I’m expecting a lot out of them and I’m going to put a lot on them.”

Of course, the one missing skill guy is quarterback Kristian Story, 2019’s Mister Alabama Football who’s now wearing Crimson and White in Tuscaloosa. But Story and the Panthers have had big time players graduate before.

There’s a sign in the weight room reminding the Panthers what it takes to win it all. It reads, “Championships are won in the off-season. Grind now!!! Shine later!!!”

“Yeah, it’s definitely a grind,” said Story. “And you know how it is. Just being able to get these kids in here and they know what it takes, that’s the big thing. And that’s all we talk about is the grind, which is going to be a grind, but I think they’re ready for it.”

They’ll get their first test on August 21 when they hit the road to take on Georgiana in the season opener.

Copyright 2020 WTVM. All rights reserved.