News, Sports

Panthers come out in force for varsity football team

Hancock Panthers varsity football team, 2022-2023: Caleb Walls, Matthew Coffman, Nick Creek, Tyler Clingerman, Hunter Foltz, Aiden McCarty, Memphis Crosen, Dalton Howes, Jeremiah Thomas, Shawn Thomas, Jordyn King, Hayden McCarty, Isaiah Demory, Landon Hamil, Jacob Anderson, Logan Trumpower, Kaden Keefer, Brady Trumpower, Reese Weller, Jerry Stratton III, Brody Stratton, Waylon Leach.

by Lisa Schauer

“It’s a victory in itself getting 24 kids to come out,” said head coach Ron Hare before Hancock High School’ s first varsity football game of the season last weekend.

With just 13 players last year, the Panthers have nearly doubled their numbers, as Hare starts his second year as coach.

“The kids get breaks now. They’re nervous and excited, and they’ve been working hard,” Hare said.

Also new and starting his first full academic year at Hancock High is Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Kermit Moyer, who came to the school in December 2021.

Moyer brings 34 years of experience in education as a physical education teacher, coach, and school administrator.

“The goals are to promote the importance of athletics, and to increase participation.

That’s happening. And to provide an opportunity for students to have beneficial, positive experiences while participating,” said Moyer, who is from upstate New York.

“The athletics program plays an important role. It’s an opportunity for young people to learn leadership, collaboration, commitment, and hard work,” said Moyer.

According to Coach Hare, “Wins are good for show, and they’ ll come. But we focus on grades, work ethics, and attitude. We have fun when we play, and they don’t get yelled at.”

Adding to the fun factor is some local star power. Hare’s nephew is Ty Marquise Johnson, a standout running back from Fort Hill and the University of Maryland. Johnson made the New York Jets’ 53-man roster last week. He was drafted into the NFL in 2019.

Johnson assisted with a weightlifting clinic the Panthers held last summer, and Hare says the kids are looking forward to him coming back to Hancock again at the end of the season.

Johnson has been known to pull up at Hancock High in his Dodge Hellcat, flexing for the student athletes.

Volunteers also prepare a hearty team dinner, like spaghetti, tacos, or barbecue in the school cafeteria the evening before every football game.

“These guys have a great community behind them. They have so much support here,” said Hare, who is from Cumberland.

The Panthers lost their start to Madonna Catholic at home last Saturday afternoon.

“We are young and got beat bad. I’ m very proud of the fight the kids had in them toward the end of the game,” Hare said in a text later.

The Panthers varsity football team travels to Halifax High School on Friday, September 9 at 7 p.m.