Friday Night Football: The Panther Mentality and Versatile Game Plan

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Sammy Patel

Franklin Panthers run onto the field to face the Mansfield Hornets

Cool October wind, Rattle City’s roars, and a Panther victory. Last Friday was quite the night for the FHS Football Program. Pulling out an underdog 28-10 win against a powerhouse Mansfield Hornets was no easy feat; the Hornets entered the matchup as back-to-back D2 State Champs on a 19-game winning streak. After moving to 4-0 on the season and knocking off the 7th ranked team in MA, Seniors Ethan Aiello (Captain) and Jake McVicar were willing to share the keys to their victory during an interview with me and Ryan Martin:

 

Ryan Martin: “Ethan and Jake, thank you for joining me today. To start, what does a win against a program like Mansfield mean for this Franklin program?

Ethan Aiello: “A win over a powerhouse like Mansfield is obviously huge for us as a team. It’s a great confidence booster and shows everyone we are really ready to compete in the Hock this year.”

Jake McVicar: “A win like that was amazing. It means a lot to us, it really shows how much time we put into preparation. Especially for never beating them on Varsity, it was good to get that win for sure.”

 

Panthers face off against the Hornets

RM: “You guys came out of the gate firing, taking a 14-0 lead into the 2nd quarter. Why do you guys think you started the game so dominantly and how

important was that start to winning the game?

EA: “Mansfeld came out really eager to stop the run and that puts teams in tough situations when they do that because of our powerful passing attack as well. When they continued to press the run, Coach saw a chance to take the top off the defense. He took it and it gave us a chance to start the game off hot with some deep touchdown passes.

JM: “We got off to a good start; having that momentum can really shape a game. We started so dominantly because we wanted it more. We were all hungry for that win and we simply wanted it more than them; we all put in the work to be great.

 

RM: “What were the keys to knocking off Mansfield, a team who had won 19 straight, and how were you guys able to execute them?

EA: “We prepared for this team just like any other. In practice, we didn’t act like it was anything more than it was. That is the mentality you need to have going into big games; it helped us prepare and stay composed when kickoff came.

JM: “The key to knocking them off was the game plan we had for them. We love running the ball and we pounded the ball. They got some guys playing both ways so running the ball a lot can really tear down a defense. We don’t think about their streaks or how much they have won; we control what we can control and play fast.

 

RM: “How do you guys plan on building off this win in preparation for another big game against Taunton this Friday?

EA: “Taunton is a very good team this year; we’re going to need to use the confidence we gained from Mansfield all this week, but now that game is behind us. All we can focus on is the game ahead.

JM: “For the Taunton game [on] Friday, we plan on just treating it as just another game because that’s what it is. We’re going to play fast and physical and have our game do the talking. We put in the work that has been done to succeed.

As Aiello and McVicar alluded to, the Panthers will continue to use that “just another game” mentality as they host the Taunton Tigers (3-1) this Friday night and test their undefeated streak.