The 2019 EP Panther football schedule has been released. There is much less travel this season for the Panthers and they will host five games, two in Erie and three in Prophetstown. The Panthers open the season on August 30th in Erie hosting Bureau Valley.
Second year coach Jesse Abbott gave his thoughts on the schedule and his second season as head coach.
“Our schedule definitely is different in a lot of ways this year. A few things jump out at me right away. First, like you said, our varsity travel is a lot less this year. St. Bede is really only our really long trip, although Sherrard is that close. But it is nice to only have 4 away games with two at Riverdale and Kewanee. It is nice to see a couple of different, more local teams as well. I’m still a little new to the EP co-op, but I know our guys see Riverdale as a nature “rivalry” type of game and are excited to play them again, and I know there have been some pretty exciting games in the recent past with Morrison as well.”
“Our overall goal as a team will always be to make the playoffs. One of the ways that I’ve been talking with the guys is to break to the seasons into small 3-game chunks. Then, our goal will be to be at least 2-1 in those three 3-game chunks. We will continue to preach one game at a time with them and getting better each day. For our division, Princeton and Monmouth-Roseville will be the teams to beat for sure. Hopefully we can compete with them. The last four, I think are pretty evenly matched (us, St. Bede, Kewanee, and Hall).”
“I’m excited to see how we can get things rolling in the second year of the offense and defense that we installed last year. We’ve had three nights together (we call them OTA’s for Organized Team Activities) so far and it’s clear that even with the freshmen, they know a lot of our terminology already and the ideas that we want. We can already build a little faster than last year. That should help us be even more prepared for week 1.”
“Speaking of week 1, BV is one of the many teams with new coaches. That will be an interesting game because the coach their hasn’t been a head coach before and has been part of other programs that run really different offenses, so we really don’t know what their plan is. The rest of the coaching changes won’t be as much of distraction or disadvantage because we will have film on them by the time we play them. New coaches generally mean a renewed energy in the program at the beginning of the season, so that is something else to plan for with BV. I saw it last year as well from my own perspective.”