Whitmer is bright spotWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As the final seconds ticked off the clock at BGSU’s Doyt Perry Stadium, I did a double take when looking at the scoreboard.
Yes, the final score was still the same. The bright lights still spelled out “WHITMER 14 ST. JOHNS 10,” but it didn’t seem possible at that point.
I was assigned to the Whitmer Panther broadcasts this year for WRSCradio, and had mixed feelings about doing the team’s games.
I went to St. Francis, and quite frankly Whitmer was a rival for the Knights every football season. During my time in high school the Panthers had not yet joined the City League, therefore the second game on the schedule of every football season was Whitmer.
Call it high school immaturity that still resides inside, but for whatever reason there were mixed feelings about becoming an honorary member of the Panther community.
Due to recent news, being a public high school in Toledo seems to carry a negative connotation these days. We have watched the Shakespearean tragedy that is the descent of the Toledo Public school system.
With a levy failure last spring cutting certain teams and all freshmen and junior high sports plus another levy failure this past fall, the athletic situation continues to look bleak.
Things aren’t that way at Whitmer these days. The Washington Local School District (WLS) just finished a renovation at the high school’s football stadium.
The Panthers’ stadium might be the nicest high school facility in the city of Toledo.
The support of the community is unmatched. The home stands are packed at every football game, and you would be hard pressed to find the last time a levy failed in the school district.
However, it has been the people I have encountered there who have surprised me the most. The coaches, players and athletic administration have been first-class.
In all honesty though, there are plenty of schools in and around Toledo that have great kids, teachers, coaches and communities.
All anyone has to do is drive down I-280 near the turnpike and see the newly renovated Lake football stadium to see that. But few schools have had the athletic success in the City League and state level that Whitmer has.
That athletic success has not been more evident than on the gridiron this past fall. Whitmer won its second consecutive City League championship, and last weekend, the team beat St. John’s Jesuit for the second time this season to advance to the state semifinals in Division I.
The Nov. 20 regional final against the Titans was a rematch of a week five meeting in which Whitmer blasted St. John’s 49-24.
The game was much different this time around. The Panthers lacked edge and energy, but somehow they still found a way to win.
Being outplayed for most of the first half, Whitmer’s Joe McNabb blocked a punt with just 30 seconds left in the second quarter that was ran back for a tying touchdown. Then with five minutes to go in the game and trailing 10-7, Whitmer put together a clutch drive to go ahead 14-10, and the players would never look back.
I have always been told that good teams always find a way to win, and that is what happened Nov. 20.
The Panthers play Lakewood St. Edwards on Nov. 27 with a chance to go to the state finals on the line.
No matter what happens in that game, the most excited person might be in the press box.
Chris Schmidbauer is sports editor for Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com. He is also the co-host of the “Odd Couple Sports Show” on Fox Sports Radio 1230 WCWA and can be heard every weekday from 10 a.m. to noon. He can also be seen weekly on the “Friday Night Frenzy Tailgate Show” on NBC 24’s America One.