According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a moral victory is “an actual defeat regarded as a virtual victory because of the narrowness of the margin or because of some circumstance that gives satisfaction or hope.”
Meet the Palmyra Panthers, who in week one lost 24-22 to Macon on a last-second field goal and fell 18-12 in double overtime to state-ranked Centralia last week.
“A loss is a loss, but they’re Centralia. We feel pretty good about it. We took them to double overtime. We took them as far as anybody has,” said Palmyra Coach Kevin Miles. “We knew it was going to be a tough week. The kids came out and responded well.”
Palmyra responded so well that it drew praise from the opposition.
“Coach (Erle) Bennett is a very class act. He came to our sideline after the game and was very complementary of the kids about how hard they played and how they should be proud of themselves,” said Miles.
Despite his team’s 0-2 record, Miles says attitude is not an issue.
“The kids have been phenomenal with their attitude and work ethic,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep plugging.”
Palmyra’s chore won’t get any easier this week when it hosts South Shelby (2-0), which climbed to sixth in the Class 1A state rankings this week.
“They played in the state championship game last year and return quite a bit,” said Miles. “They’re big. They’re fast. Coach (Rob) Wilt has been there for years, so they know what they’re doing. They’re going to come in and try to smash-mouth us and be physical on defense. They’re a good quality program that’s proven they can win year in and year out, so it’s another tough game for us. We’ll have to play as good or better than we did the first two weeks to get on top of this one.”
Miles is confident his team will eventually earn more than moral victories.
“The wins will come when it’s time for them to come,” he said.