Still a special year for Catty seniors
For seniors Brad Panto, Wilquon Clemons, and Devon Troxell, the recent annual Thanksgiving Day clash with Northampton marked an end to their memorable careers as well as a cavalcade of memories in the Brown and White.
Panto was among the team’s leading tacklers on defense from his middle linebacker spot and also the leader on the offensive front. It likely marked the end of his football playing days, but the lessons and experiences that will linger.
The Roughies’ overall record of 4-19 the past two seasons is an insignificant factor.
“I don’t think I will ever forget suiting up Friday nights,” said Panto. “I’ve played football my entire life and the game itself has taught me so many life lessons. The grit, determination and responsibility are values football teaches well.
“Playing with my teammates from flags all the way up to my senior year and the fun times is something that I won’t forget. And while the season may not have gone the way we anticipated, the joy of playing made every second worth it no matter what the score.
“As for Turkey Day, there was nothing like it, by far the best ending of a season I could have asked for. Being part of something that big was surreal.”
Clemons has been the Roughies’ leading rusher the past two seasons and was named the Thanksgiving Day MVP last season. He plans to play football in college next season, and his remembrances will stay with him.
“The game didn’t go as we wanted, but I am proud of everyone,” said Clemons. “We all gave 110-percent on every play and that’s all I could ask for.
“It’s always sad when something you love comes to an end, but it is time to move on and prepare for the next chapter in life.”
Troxell’s Thanksgiving Day was cut short due to sustaining a partial broke fibula and torn ligament in the first quarter. He was the Roughies’ kicker the past four seasons and had three career field goals as well as numerous extra points.
Troxell will have surgery Dec. 5 and is likely to miss most of the upcoming basketball season.
“Playing in the Turkey Day game and being Catty’s kicker the past four years was an awesome experience,” said Troxell. “I grew up going to this game and love the tradition. It was about measuring my career not on wins and losses, but on how much I developed from my freshman year.
“Going into the game, (head) coach (Mike) McClarin emphasized respect, tradition, and brotherhood. He talked about not just playing football, but to become great husbands, brothers and fathers down the road. Coach McClarin has started something special and I hope he sticks around for a while.
“I wanted to thank everyone who has supported me and our program. Over the last four years, the seniors had tremendous support and the community made it a great four years.”