Written by Brien Trimbach and Chris Simoulidis
The Masuk Panthers football team geared up for their Homecoming game matchup against Stratford high this Friday, but first let’s take a look at last year’s Homecoming game and the incredible excitement it brought to Masuk and the town of Monroe.
Last October, the Panthers squared off against the New Fairfield Rebels in a game that left fans on the edge of their seat to the final seconds of the game. The Panthers dug themselves a hole early on, being down 28-0 just before halftime. Masuk Quarterback Dylan Jackson led a powerful second-half offense that left the Rebels stunned. Jackson threw for 385 yards, completing 19 of 29 passes, including two fourth-down conversions on the game-winning drive. The Panthers brought it back to win 29-28 with a clutch last second 2-point conversion.
This year the Panthers faced the 2-3 Stratford Red Devils on Friday October 21st, 2022. The team has been in high gear the last week coming off a win against Bunnell but still left room for lots of cleaning up in certain aspects, and perfecting. Before the game, one of the Team Captains and Masuk Senior Aiden Clausen noted: “It’s a big game and everyone on the team knows that. The team has worked hard to make sure we come out with the dub.” Clausen added. When asked about the comeback from last year, Clausen exclaimed: “The comeback last year was huge. The student section was a huge part of that because of the energy they brought.” Masuk Senior Mason Hope divulged that the team has been trying to channel the energy from last year. “The game last year set a goal for us to win again and have a great last Homecoming game for the seniors.” he stated. “We feel ready for Stratford.”.
Well turns out Hope was right because the game had Masuk written all over it from start to finish. Despite the Panthers getting off to a slow start, going 4 and out on the first drive of the game, Masuk’s defense was able to force a Stratfords punt and then it was a steam roll from there. At halftime Masuk was dominating the Red Devils with a 36-0 lead. This insane build up of momentum was able to keep the Panthers foot on the gas, as the defense continued the shoutout and Masuk was able to outscore Stratford 49-0. Touchdowns were scored by Ryan Fedeli, Devin LaRoche, Kyle Beckett, Gavin Walker, Tarik Al-Hameedi, and Jason Champagne with two. I was able to speak after the game with Senior offensive tackle Matthew Schulz about the performance. I wanted to know how good it felt to get such a great team win for the homecoming game and Schulz responded, “It feels great we really dominated from the start to finish for the first time this year. Very good team win as a whole”. With the season being a little over half way done I asked Schulz what are some improvements the team made during the first 6 games of the season that will carry them into the final stretch of the year. Schulz responded, “well I think we are finding our stride on both sides of the ball, and starting that game stronger especially this week. We found ourselves in big deficits early often so it was big to start strong and end strong. We are able to use our different sets better now that we have seen them [the sets] more”.
The Panthers next game takes them to Weston high school in a contest against the Weston Trojans.