It was a cold, windy, rainy couple of hours in Mollenkopf last night but it was worth it to see a gritty battle in which the Warren G. Harding Panthers (for a night) prevailed over Bedford 15-0. (See Tribune article and video.)
The “pre-game” at the Buena Vista was like an Warren pep rally with cheers and chants filling the over-crowed a couple of hours before kickoff. Thowback Panther jerseys were the uniform of the day.
Walking into the stadium with our crew of “Silver Panthers” was very deja vuy. The band shell “W” was lit up in red. There were red and white signs everywhere. (see WE Facebook page for lots of photos) and there was a Panther over the scoreboard. The Harding team came out in red pants and white Panther jerseys and suddenly we were young again.
Coach Arnold invited a couple of us into the locker room for his pre-game speech in which he recapped the season and asked everyone to give their all for the seniors who were playing their last home game. We settled into seats in the old stands and enjoyed seeing a nearly full and almost completely red pallet in the west stands. Then we huddled together in the rain and told old stories that kept us laughing throughout the game — when we weren’t booing the refs who seem determined to keep Bedford in the game.
Another highlight was the Harding band’s halftime show — great as always but they played all the Panther-era greatest hits like “Across the Field” and “Buckeye Battle Cry.” It was terrific and fitting that they also rededicated the band shell to Mr. Flemming and two seats in the west stands to Buzzy Hood — an original season ticket holder who passed recently.
After a hard-fought victory it was back to the BV where every parking space and table were taken and the bar was SRO — filled with happy people in red and white and wearing every manner of Panther spanning decades of graphic styles. It was great to see Warren exuberant and loud again.