It was a night of excitement at Tarleton's Memorial Stadium Thursday as the Huston Academy Panthers played their first football game in two-years.
Facing off against Huston Academy was one of the Stephenville High School junior varsity squads and both teams played well over four quarters with the Yellow Jackets squeaking out an 8-0 victory.
While Stephenville took home the win, those associated with the Panthers program were more thrilled just to be able to see meaningful football again.
"It feels amazing that we just played four quarters of football. We haven't scrimmaged or gone 11 versus 11 in practice," said Panther Head Football Coach Kevin Wilson after the game. "Considering that half of our team hadn't played a football game in two-years, it was great. I'm ecstatic right now."
Huston Academy didn't just jump back into the football world Thursday night. They also experienced something that the school had yet to accomplish - field a full 11-man football squad.
Previously the school competed in six-man football, which is a totally different game in itself compared to 11-man.
With one game down, Coach Wilson is looking forward to what the rest of the season holds and is proud with what his team accomplished Thursday.
"These kids have the same hopes, dreams and aspirations as anyone else playing high school football. Whatever they’ve gone through in their life, it hadn’t filled their days with football, but their dreams of hopes of playing never ended," he said. "For us to come out and not fight against each other, not make it personal, especially with a hometown rivalry type deal. These kids prepare and we’re excited to see the film and watch ourselves play. I feel good about the days ahead if it be the Lord’s will. I’m just happy and so blessed and thank Jesus for giving us the opportunity to play and coach the game."
The Panthers are currently playing an 'outlaw' schedule due to it being their first-year as an 11-man program meaning that things can change. However, their next contest is scheduled for September 9 against the DasChe Spartans in Red Oak.