Creston/O-M senior Maxx Walters had a busy night, covering Glenwood’s deep passing threat (Brandon Bichel) and running pass routes for the Panther offense.
But there was work done before the Panthers even took the field, Walters said, to set the mindset of urgency felt by this year’s seniors. A loss likely would knock Creston/O-M out of the playoff hunt.
“It means everything to us,” Walters said. “This team is family. We knew the consequences if we lost. There were heart-to-heart talks in the locker room. We said, play for us, but play for yourselves, too. You’re never going to get this back.”
Phipps said the seniors have talked for years about making a playoff run. The program’s postseason appearances the past two years have ended in opening-round defeats.
“We’ve all had this dream of being state champions,” quarterback Brandon Phipps said, “and one step is making the playoffs. We’ve had a couple of tough games. Last week (34-7 loss at Harlan) kind of lit a fire under us, really. It motivated us to come out and show that we’re not a bad team. We’re a dang good team when we play together, and that’s what we did.”
Coach Brian Morrison said the team is overcoming some midseason injuries. But, players like Alex Nielsen and Seth Maitlen are on the mend, preparing to play in the district finale against Lewis Central, if not earlier in the last regular season home game against Winterset.
“We had a great week of practice and we practiced without pads,” Morrison said. “That helped. We were fresh tonight. We were dinged up across the board. I told the kids, at this point last year we were losing kids to season-ending injuries. This year we’re going to get kids back. We’re 5-2 and we couldn’t be happier with this win tonight.”
Walters called the 49-21 win “a total confidence booster.”
Phipps said there are still accomplishments to shoot for in the upcoming two weeks.
“The LC game is huge for us,” Phipps said. “We just need to go out (this week) and keep getting better. We want to get the number two seed and play at home in the playoffs.”