It’s no surprise that the fans of the McKinley Senior High School Panthers and Southern Lab High School Kittens were enthusiastic about each of the teams’ first regular-season game of the 2020-2021 season. In the stands of McKinley stadium, the crowds were roaring and the players were eager to play.
Southern Lab High also had plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball as well. Dual-threat quarterback, Angelo Izzard, showed his swiftness as he breezed as his opponents. If he wasn’t throwing balls or running down the field, he was passing the ball to senior running back Lutrell Pruitt. Pruitt has a compact build and is hard to tackle due to his impressive speed. Towards the middle of the second quarter, he ran into the endzone intending to score the first touchdown of the game. The ball was fumbled and quickly recovered in the end zone by his teammate resulting in a touchdown for the Kittens.
Despite the Panthers being down at halftime, the crowd was energetic as ever and filled with students, alumni, band members, and cheerleaders ready to see what each team had in store. McKinley High is credited for its school spirit and alumni involvement. We had the chance to speak to Dr. Esrom Pitre, the principal of McKinley Senior High School, during halftime about the typical environment of game nights and how they look a little different this year and how he felt about the Panthers’ performance so far.
“What would you tell outsiders to expect when they come to watch a McKinley High School football game?”
They can expect a strong alumni base here supporting the panthers, they can expect a great atmosphere with our cheerleaders, Pantherettes, band, and of course, a hard-fought game by the Panther football team.
“How would you say you feel about their performance so far?”
So far, I think we’re struggling a little bit on the offense. We typically struggle a little bit at the beginning of the year, first game kinks. We’re playing really solid on defense. They look pretty good and just missed a couple of tackles and a couple of guys got away from us, but I think we’re right in the ball game. Right where we want to be. We’re down by 7, but anything can happen. If our defense can put together a couple of strong drives, we should be okay.”
“How do you think the team has adjusted with the new COVID-19 regulations?”
“The teams have adjusted very well. We’ve put a lot of different protocols in place. It’s extremely taxing and hard to ensure that we are following those protocols every day. the kids aren’t able to go to the locker rooms anymore, but overall, I think we’ve made the adjustments and got things moving.”
From the beginning, it was obvious the defense was strong on both teams. McKinley’s defensive line was strong and reactive, however, Southern Lab’s defense was more consistent and prevailed in the end. The Kittens were quick to get off the ball and played explosively. We were able to capture a clip of freshman cornerback, Dylan Day, catching an interception thrown by the Panther’s quarterback.
Both teams played hard, but the Southern Lab High School Kittens were able to pull through with a 15-0 win.