Darby Football celebrates their Seniors and clinches a spot in the playoffs
As October comes to an end, many fall athletes are finishing up their season and are looking towards the postseason.
On Friday, October 26th, students, faculty, and parents braved the elements in Darby’s stadium to celebrate the senior cheerleaders, football players, and marching band members, and watch their final home game of their high school careers.
The Panthers went into this Week 10 game against the Dublin Scioto Fighting Irish with an overall record of 7-2, a 5-1 record in the OCC, and a 4-0 record at home. There was a lot of pressure on the team, as it was their last guaranteed game. If Darby won, they would have clinched a spot in the Playoffs, but if they lost, their season would come to an end.
The night began with the typical senior night festivities, giving the student body, parents, as well as their teammates, a chance to honor the seniors and thank them for their four years of dedication.
Junior tight end and defensive lineman Creed Galko has learned a lot from the class of 2019.
“They’ve shown me that if you work hard all the time, it will pay off. They have also never given up. We have been in some absolute wars this year and not one of them threw in the towel,” Galko shared.
The Seniors also had mixed emotions about finally having their senior night.
Billy Cantwell said, “Senior night was a crazy experience and it’s sad that [the seniors] had our last home game.”
After the senior football players and cheerleaders walked across the field, the Panthers and the Fighting Irish finally took the field and the game began.
Darby won the first quarter 3-0, but Scioto came right back in the second, scoring all eleven of their points, and holding the Panthers to seven points.
At halftime, Scioto had the upper hand, leading Darby 11-10.
Unfortunately, the marching band did not perform during halftime, but instead the fans and band families got the opportunity to celebrate the senior marchers.
By this point in the evening, the rain had not stopped and half the student section had left, but those who stayed were pumped up and ready for the second half.
The third quarter brought no change to the score, but the quarter was not a complete dud. Some of the brass and percussion came over to the student section for Third Quarter Band. They played their usual fight songs, as the cheerleaders danced along, but then they brought out a Darby classic that had not been played in years, known as “Disrespect Your Surroundings”. The grand finale of Third Quarter Band was Trombone Suicides, another fan favorite that was brought out of retirement this year. Trombone Suicides are when the trombones swing their instruments in a fast paced routine, to the beat of the tenor drums.
The fourth quarter was intense with both teams fighting for the final win of the season, as well as a playoff spot. The Panthers earned three more points from a field goal and with two minutes left in the game, the Fighting Irish made one final push to retake the lead.
With about a minute left in the game, Scioto tried to run the ball and unfortunately the ball carrier took a direct hit to the head, leaving him injured on the field. The game was delayed for a while, and the player was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The following evening, the Scioto coach announced that the player was released from the hospital.
After this delay, when the game restarted, the Fighting Irish made it to around the twenty-three yard line, with six seconds to go. At this point, the remaining student section had left the stands were lining the track, cheering on the defense, hoping for a stop.
Scioto could not make it past the defense, and the clock ran out with screams of elation from the team, the parents, and the track.
After the handshakes, the students continued to cheer as the seniors rang the Darby Victory Bell for the last time.
The class of 2019 has made an impact on the Darby Football Program and the program has made an impact on them.
Nick Ferko shared that the program has been a huge part of his life.
“From waking up at seven in the morning for two-a-days, to meals with the team and just playing with my brothers on the field,” Ferko expressed his gratitude for the program adding that Darby Football has shaped who he is today.
Ferko and Cantwell both hope that the teammates they are leaving behind will always be proud they’re from Darby, despite being counted out each year.
Although the regular season is over, the Panthers are not done yet. They will take on the Northmont High School Thunderbolt’s in the first round of the State Playoffs on Friday, November 2nd, at Northmont. Kickoff is at 7:00pm and students can purchase tickets, t-shirts, and a spot on the spirit bus traveling to the game, during lunch Wednesday through Friday.
Congratulations to the seniors and best of luck to them in their future endeavors!