Pflugerville Struggled Through Recent Years, But Will Persevere In Expanding District

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Photo via Lourdes M. Shoaf, Austin Statesman

 

During their inception, Pflugerville was the lone high school in the district. Over the course of nearly two decades, the Panthers produced only one losing season throughout the 2000s and visiting the state championship in ’07. From 2011 to present, the Panthers have suffered a losing 23-32 record behind the emergence of Killian and Hendrickson in the area, effectively spreading out local talent; construction began last April on fourth school – Weiss High – and they will have a varsity squad in 2020.

Despite their recent string of defeats, the Panthers began the season on a high-note, streaking to a 2-0 district play start for the first time since 2008. They finished the year dropping four straight behind a defense that sacrificed over 34 points in each contest. In the schedule finale, the Panthers fell to Hendrickson despite notching 21 unanswered points, losing for the fifth consecutive time against their district rival.

The Panthers will no longer play at the 30-year- old Kuempel Stadium – the aged location of the “Friday Night Lights” TV series – and will attempt to resuscitate their program at the newly constructed “The Pfield” across the street in 2017.

Key Losses

The Merriweather Brothers, WR Larry Bedford III, LB Mitchell McDonald, S Michael Salaiz, OL RJ Pataia

Responsible for a brunt of the offense, Justyn and Jaylan Merriweather utilized their tag-team combo at quarterback and running back respectively; they will continue carrying their talents to an offensive role at Mary Hardin-Baylor (the recent DIII National Champions). William Penn University signee Larry Bedford III served as the lead receiver on the team, fronting an offense that only managed over 20 points in four contests.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers lose All-District First-Team defense selections safety Michael Salaiz and linebacker Mitchell McDonald, alongside All-District Second-Team defense honorees outside linebacker RJ Pataia.

Key Returners

WR Chris Harris, QB Romeo Aguilar, CB Terren Williams, DE Zion Cage, DE Brajon Cage 

Keeping Terren Williams, Zion Cage and Brajon Cage could potentially develop a defense that allowed an average of 24.7 points per game, permitting beneath 20 points only once. Romeo Aguilar will likely take over the shot calling duties from Merriweather and utilize Harris as his principal target.

The Verdict

With the dilution of talent in the district – only three FBS offers for Pflugerville over the last six years – the Panthers will likely continue to struggle, but winning more than three games doesn’t seem that farfetched. Expect a postseason berth with a close to .500 mark behind a rejuvenated defensive effort.

 

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