During offseason meetings and workouts, the seniors discussed what they wanted for the upcoming season. The main points were to be a selfless team, outwork their opponents, focus on each opponent without looking ahead, and when we get there, WIN IT.

In developing a team that could compete at the highest level in the state, the coaches and players knew it would take the players playing for each other, and not for personal agendas. The seniors: Michael Ryan, Dane Derksen, Chase Buckman, Brayden Osborn, Brad Cheek, Dawson Shively, Layne Pryor, Colin Kendrick, Nathan Mehrer, Alex Wilson and Cole Pennewell showcased what true selflessness was.

This group of young men worked tirelessly to make each other and all the underclassmen better each and every day. Their leadership guided the team to not look at the individual piece, but the group. This group’s selfless approach made every player better and built a level of trust that was unbreakable during football games.

The reward for success is more hard work. This simple statement became the mantra for the 2017 Monroe City football team.

After a successful 2016 football season, which saw the Monroe City Panthers finish as state runner-ups, the Panthers knew they would have a great deal of hard work ahead of them. These young men accepted that and gave great effort in practice and play. They were challenged by coaches and each other to never settle for the easy path, but instead accept the hard work. In preparing themselves in this fashion they sharpened their skills and developed into an unbeatable team.

Not looking ahead was key in a season where we knew we had a target on our back. Playing in such a competitive conference truly prepared our team for the rigors of a deep postseason run. Each week our opponent presented different challenges. One week would have to stop a spread passing attack and then the next week a double tight option running attack. Each opponent regular season opponent: Clark County, Macon, South Shelby, Louisiana, Highland, Brookfield, Paris, Centralia and Palmyra forced us to give complete and total focus to the opponent that week. This attention to detail allowed us to be sharp against any style.

The season was a very special one. These young men bonded together in such an incredible way. Their love for each other, and their willingness to be great as a team, showed through in all areas.