Americus, Ga (WRBL) – For the past three seasons the Sumter County Panthers football team has only won three games total. The 2023 season is a completely different story. In the past two weeks the Class 2A Panthers defeated class 3A Crisp County 24-15, and last week they upset the class 5A Northside Patriots 23-7. This year the Panthers have a new swagger and a belief they can line up against anyone.

“Anybody can play. As long as you put in the work, you give yourself a chance. You’ll be able to win on any given Friday,” said senior Anthony Tyson.

Will Rogers, who was the Panthers defensive coordinator last season, took over as the Sumter County head coach this year. These days he’s had to teach his team another lesson along with teaching the game plan.

“I’m trying teach them now how to handle success, and handle these moments when you guys come down and recognize them. Staying humble. Staying hungry. It’s what we’re focusing on right now. Understand where the success is coming from and it came from us working hard on the field,” said coach Rogers.

That dedication to hard work has spurred a new culture of accountability among the players. The upperclassmen take pride in making sure everyone is on the same page.

“Like picking your brother up. You see him doing wrong in the hallway, tell him what he’s doing wrong and get him right. If he’s doing wrong on the field tell him what he’s doing wrong on the field,” said Tyson.

Now the Panthers are seeing how buying into that culture is paying off with more success.
“It means a lot. It means that things are changing and the team is getting locked in and everyone is buying now,” said senior linebacker Braylon Terry.

This rejuvenated Panthers squad is happy with their recent success, but they aren’t satisfied. Ultimately they want to bring back the glory of Sumter County teams of the past.

“I remember when I was in high school because I had some friends that actually went to school here. So I heard about Americus back in the early 2000’s. I’m trying to get them back into that spotlight and that’s where they deserve to be,” said Rogers.

The next test for the Sumter County football team will be at home on September 29th against the Cook High School Hornets. Until then we’ll say congratulations to our newest Kia AutoSport Athletes of the Week the Sumter County High School football team.