State Championship Saturday turned out to be another day at the office for the Derby Panthers winning easily over Olathe North 63-26. On the way to that victory, the Panthers also broke 6A records for points in a game and total yards of offense.
The celebration started early in 4th quarter when Derby Head Coach Brandon Clark pulled starters from an offensive drive with the Panthers already up big, but the game was in hand well before that moment. The Panthers were unstoppable on offense, touting 674 yards of total offense, and scoring 63 points, both records in class 6A in a state title game.
The Panthers controlled the line of scrimmage thanks to a strong push from the offensive line, coupled with explosive play making ability from the back field complete with Lem Wash and Grant Adler at quarterback alongside Tre Washington at running back. The three headed monster for the Panthers combined for 7 touchdowns on the ground.
Wash took a majority of the reps throughout the game at Quarterback. Once the running game opened up the air attack, he capitalized on a post route to Reid Liston on an 81 yard touchdown.
Defensively the Panthers stopped the Eagles on the day despite falling victim to a few trick plays. Jarod Noel led the way for the Panthers with 12 tackles while Jack Hileman followed with 9.
The Derby Panthers continue to build a dynasty that was established years ago. For these seniors, three state rings in four tries is a good mark. Coach Clark added this group is talented on the field but they are even better people off of it saying, "There's so many special kids, and they aren't just special on the field but they are special off the field and that is what has made this year so fun."
For these group of seniors it was the last time to wear Derby green but they say they wouldn't trade the last four years.
"It is a blessing, like I said earlier, it is a blessing to be a part of this and to be in a community," said offensive lineman Kevin Washington. "We came out with 100% and look what we did, we got the job done," Washington finished.
Defensive back Terry Ginyard echoed that same sentiment saying, "We went out on top, it's last time putting these pads on but we went out on top."
Another DB in the Panther secondary and senior Brecken Kooser joined Ginyard saying,"It sunk in in at the beginning of the season, I knew we were going to do this since the beginning of the year. Winning it with my team is special," he noted.
Alex Conn, another anchor on this Panther team who is headed to Nebraska next fall added that he will change the colors on his jersey but will always these last four years close saying, "I'm a little bummed out, this is the last time i get to play with my friends, and with my brothers. Last time I get to wear the green but next year I get to go to Nebraska and wear the red and white so I am excited."
Derby finishes the year undefeated, winning its fifth state title in 7 years.