POND CREEK — Senior night never seems to get old for Pond Creek-Hunter head coach David Kerr.
Before his Panthers (10-0, 7-0) rolled to a 46-0 shutout win over Boise City (5-5, 2-5) on Friday night at Pond Creek-Hunter, Kerr greeted each of his 10 seniors and their parents for the 23rd Senior Night of his career, his 21st as the Panthers' head coach.
“It’s been a long time,” he said after the game. “Each night is special because you have a different group every time. This group of 10 right here has been with me for a long time, so its a pretty special night for these guys.”
Most of the seniors have been with Kerr since they were fifth-graders, like senior quarterback Jake Ronck, who threw three touchdown passes on his four attempts against the Wildcats.
Senior Xavier Smith put the Panthers on the board first after scooping up a Boise City fumble on the Wildcats’ opening drive and returning it 63 yards for a touchdown. Ronck then ended each of the next two Panther drives by throwing touchdown passes to senior running back Noah Miller.
Ronck first hit Miller for a 55-yard score. On the next drive, Miller caught a screen pass from Ronck and took the ball nearly the length of the field for an 80-yard touchdown. The senior Panther ended his night with a 33-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end John Theophilus.
By the end of the first quarter, the Panthers led 40-0. Pond-Creek Hunter's lone second quarter score came on a five-yard touchdown run from sophomore Conner Czapansky. The game was called at halftime.
Ronck said there were so many memories to choose from when asked to look back on his Pond Creek-Hunter career. But the one he chose was from his very first practice as a varsity Panther in his freshman year.
He recalled Kerr telling that season’s team they had a chance to win a Class C state title.
“From going from junior high and then coming to high school, to hear, ‘You have a chance to win a state championship,’ that’s pretty surreal,” Ronck said.
After his two touchdown catches, Miller ended his night with a 14-yard touchdown run. Like Ronck, Miller was introduced to the culture immediately after coming to Pond Creek-Hunter his sophomore year.
“I was introduced right off the bat that we were going to be a state contender, year after year,” he said. “I just followed in right behind these guys that led it all the way.”
After defeating Boise City, the Panthers solidified their third undefeated season in three years.
The seniors have a chance to set the all-time wins record at Pond Creek, which Kerr said stands at 50. But records are hardly on the minds of the Panther seniors.
We got the first round next week,” Ronck said. “That’s what we’re worried about … The wins, the state championship, any of that stuff, that’ll come if we play our best. But we have to go week by week. It’s a new season. We have to take it one step at a time.”
Pond Creek-Hunter hosts Fox next week for the first round of the Class C state playoffs.
Prior to the game, referee Richard Parker was honored for his 58 years of service as a referee to the Northwest Oklahoma community. Friday night's game was his last as a high school official. Pond Creek-Hunter presented him with a plaque and the crowd recognized his service with an ovation.