By JEFF STAHLHUT
For the Call
Even though they have yet to play even one game, the Mehlville Senior High School football Panthers hope that they already have hit rock-bottom in the 2003 season.
Plagued by late-arriving players thanks to bus problems, meetings that pull coaches away from practices and some freak injuries, the Panthers just are ready to hit the field for real — and they’ll finally get the chance to do that Friday.
Mehlville Coach Gary Heyde is taking it in stride, though.
“We’re just battling all kinds of things,” he told the Call. “Everything so far has been pretty screwed up, and we’re going to have to have a good week of practice to be ready.”
Even with so much bad luck, Heyde has been pleased with the effort of his team in its preparation for its game against Park-way Central.
“The kids have done a great job in dealing with the adversity. They’re working hard and have had a great attitude,” he said. “But this has been a rough start.”
On top of it all, the Panthers are opening the season against a very good opponent in the Colts. Heyde is very aware of what his team is up against.
“They had so much talent last year and a lot of those kids are gone,” Heyde said. “But we know they had a lot of good skill players coming up and they are going to be tough.”
Central starts the season under new Coach Mark Goldenberg, as longtime Coach Bob Trowbridge retired from the district and is now an assistant at Vianney.
The Panthers will take on the Colts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road.