Panthers turn back the clock to 2008 Saturday

Written by Paul Harder, The Observer December 02, 2013 08:47 am

I started having flashbacks as the clock wound down at Hillsboro Stadium Saturday night. Imbler was wrapping up its second state title in school history with a victory against Lowell, 88-76. 

In my first stint with the paper, I walked the turf of Hillsboro Stadium in 2008 during another championship game, a win against Joseph. It was more emotional, with then quarterback Bryan Mills in a wheelchair after an injury in the state semifinals. Even without Mills, the Panthers pulled off an amazing win.

Saturday’s game was just as impressive, though, considering the precision of the offense, and the ability of the defense to make key stops.

What’s more impressive is the timing of both the state championships — they coincided with the volleyball team winning the state title weeks before.

A 2009 graduate of Imbler high school Reva West was part of the 2008 volleyball win, and witnessed the football game that season. She also saw her former school pull off the feat again this season.

“In 2008, I just remember how proud I was to be a small school athlete, especially from Imbler,” West said. “There is no better feeling than an entire community coming together to support a bunch of high school kids. Saturday I had the same rush of pride and happiness. These are moments that those athletes will remember forever, that our community will remember. I just feel blessed to be an alumni and watch those students create lasting memories out there.” 

The Panthers put themselves into rare territory Saturday night when the football claimed its second Class state championship by defeating Lowell. They became just the third school since the move to four classifications in 1990 to win the football and volleyball titles in the same season twice. 

Imbler became the first Class 1A team to achieve the feat.

Vale, Class 2A, accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons in 1990 and 1991. Fellow Class 2A member Amity achieved the feat in 1999 and 2000. 

Sherwood, Class 3A, won both titles in 2010. But have failed to repeat the task. 

Jacey Teeter a senior this season, said there was a small challenge issued to the football team before the game against Lowell.

“Teeter quote.” 

It takes a lot of things going right in order to win a single championship during a season, but for a school to win two is pretty amazing. 

There was no doubt the volleyball team had a great chance to pull of the feat this season. They returned a strong core from a team that went to the championship game last season.

The football team had more questions to answer. The Panthers lost four all-league starters from the previous season. Somehow Lee Lowe and his coaching staff mixed the pieces into the top team in the state. 

“Lee Lowe”

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but for Imbler it did.