Alba-Golden Panthers embark on promising season

Posted 8/26/21

It is hard for Coach Drew Webster to contain his enthusiasm at the upcoming football season.

“We have turned a fundamental corner in our program,” he remarked, “…we now …

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Alba-Golden Panthers embark on promising season


It is hard for Coach Drew Webster to contain his enthusiasm at the upcoming football season.

“We have turned a fundamental corner in our program,” he remarked, “…we now have an environment driven by accountability to each other and to the team.” 

The 2021 campaign holds much promise for the Panthers. With as many as 60 young athletes expected to step forward in junior varsity and varsity football squads, the season will certainly have a few surprises in what could be a very unpredictable campaign. 

“Throughout the district, most teams lost a lot of seniors,” Webster commented.  That, combined with the unsettled nature of athletics throughout last year, may yield some interesting results. 

“I believe that the football season starts in the previous spring, with the effort and dedication of the athletes in spring sports, especially track and field,” Webster stated. “I couldn’t be more proud of how our athletes performed in the spring – it is a great indicator for the fall,” he continued.

In a refreshing break from the norm, Webster dismissed his athletes for the entire month of June.

“It was a tough year, with a lot of scheduling challenges, and we felt that it was important for the athletes to take a deep breath and spend some time with their families,” Webster explained.

Already, he admitted, the organization is seeing positive feedback from that decision. 

That break also allowed Webster and his coaching staff to dedicate ample time to the offensive and defensive schemes for the year. Changes will definitely be afoot on the defensive side of the ball, as Alba-Golden will transition to a 4-2-5 alignment. Offensively, while the Panthers will not desert the power running game, there will be a few new looks and new tweaks.  

“We will be working hard to influence defenses on every play,” Webster noted.

Quite a few spots on the Panther roster will be clear strengths when the season opens. The work of Jerry Skinner at the defensive end position, the inner fire that burns in the Gaskill brothers, and the experience of players such as quarterback Blake Weissert and linebacker Ethan Salinas, will all be needed. 

What may set this bunch of Panthers off from their predecessors is the depth which Alba-Golden will have at each position.

“This is the most depth we have had on the team in the past five years,” commented Webster. 

Depth can at times create problems in a young team. Not so at Alba-Golden.

“This group truly understands the concept of team,” Webster stressed. “They understand that the game is about the name on the front, not the name on the back of the jersey.” 

Webster’s charges will have plenty to contend with. In their pre-season slate, they open at home against Prairiland, travel to Big Sandy, host Union Grove, and travel to Cumby. Both Prairiland and Union Grove are bound to be tough contests as the Panthers seek to avenge two very close losses from last season. The Union Grove game will also be the 2021 military appreciation game.

District competition starts with a tall order hosting Wolfe City and Cooper. An away game at Celeste follows before a bye week. The final three games of regular season offer Rivercrest, Honey Grove and Como-Pickton.  

As Webster took a break from staining the custom-built lockers being installed in the fieldhouse, he made a telling comment about the group soon to take the field, “They don’t care who takes the credit.”

That is music to any coach’s ears. 

There are no lightly-loaded weeks in the 2021 campaign. Each opponent will have talent and the ability to compete for 48 minutes. Last year demonstrated one thing above all else: the competition in 2A is just as tough and just as talented as in 3A. 

The Panthers will be up for the challenge.