[tps_title] Quakertown Panthers [/tps_title]
Panthers guarding against downturn despite big roster changes
The Quakertown Panthers haven’t had a losing season since going 1-9 in 2012 and they will look to keep the winning season streak going in 2019.
The Panthers are coming off a 9-3 season that ended in the District 1-6A playoffs.
Quakertown upset the No. 6 seed Perkiomen Valley 26-14 in the first round before falling 49-14 to Garnet Valley in the quarterfinals.
Fortunately for the Panthers, they will start the season with back-to-back home games against Central Bucks East and Souderton, respectively.
Highlighting the Quakertown 2019 schedule is a home game on October 4 against defending 5A District One champion Upper Dublin, who advanced to the state semifinals last season.
George Banas, who is entering his 10th season as the Panther head coach, is looking forward to a tough schedule despite having a rather young team this season.
“I think the program is heading toward the right direction with not having a losing season in seven years,” said Banas.“We are a smaller 6A program where it seems like every three or so years we have a 1-9 or 2-8 season, so we are happy with the progress we are making.”
“Unfortunately this might be one of those seasons considering we lost 19 of 22 starters from last year,” said Banas. “So we have a lot of kids that are inexperienced and going on the field for the first time on Friday nights.”
But don’t talk to Banas about rebuilding just yet. He has plenty of confidence in the talent level of the Panthers.
“I like the talent and personalities that we have on this group,” added Banas. “but they just didn’t have the opportunities in the past. Last year’s senior class had five sophomores that started for three years and they just had a really dominant class as far as playing football Friday nights, so the kids we have now didn’t have a lot of opportunities because of that.”
“Now it’s their turn to step up,” said Banas about the players on the team this year. “They get to prove themselves that they are just as good of an athlete as some of those kids ahead of them.”
The Panthers will look to avenge two tough losses from a year ago against Cheltenham and Upper Dublin this season.
Quakertown lost to Cheltenham 17-14 and lost at Upper Dublin 14-13 last season.
The Panthers will also face Pennridge in their annual rivalry game on Thanksgiving morning to end the season unless if one of the teams are playing in the state playoffs during that time.
Quakertown lost to the Rams 37-6 last year on Thanksgiving Day a year ago at home.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH
Tyler Merwerth, Wide Receiver >> Coach Banas is sure that everyone will be keeping an eye on wide receiver Tyler Merwerth, who was a two-way starter a year ago.
“I think it’s going to take a lot of young guys to step up this year,” said Merwerth. “Hopefully they can pick everything up quick. It’s going to be a learning experience for them and think everyone will adjust very quickly.”
Merwerth, who is entering his junior year, had a stellar season as a sophomore a year ago.
Merwerth made 37 receptions for 431 yards and three touchdowns as a wide receiver a year ago.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH