The Harrison Panthers football team learned the hard way in 2017 that it’s not always about how you start as much as it is how you finish.
“We walked around as though we were undefeated and we couldn’t get beat, and that didn’t happen,” wide receiver Devon Washington said about last season.
The Panthers were 8-0 before three straight losses ended their year. Now, they’re off to another perfect start at 3-0. However, they don’t need to look at the records when they take on another undefeated squad, the 3-0 Pueblo Central Wildcats, this Friday night.
“We don’t try to think about it like 3-0 and 3-0,” quarterback Orlando Westbrook said. “It keeps you prepared for the game instead of the crowd and things like that.”
On the field, Pueblo Central boasts a strong run game led by Nico Martin’s 135 rushing yards per game.
“They’re explosive,” Harrison Head Coach Al Melo said. “The key to us being successful is to keep those guys in check.”
“We have to come out fast and physical to start with,” Aumiere Shedrick said. “We have to do what our coach calls ‘punch them in the mouth before they hit us,’ because if we hit them first, they’ll feel our initial impact.”
The Panthers chalk up their early season success to talent and athleticism, but also a change in mindset.
“We have more of a brotherhood type of mentality because we realize what we can each accomplish, but we realize we can accomplish more with each other rather than individually,” Shedrick said.
“Our older group who’s been together for a while, they’re doing a great job of bringing those young kids along and mentoring those young kids,” Melo said.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium.