Friday nights in Lanett are usually reserved for cheering on the city’s football team, the fifth ranked and undefeated Panthers. Normally, you hear about star athletes or legendary head coaches, but some of the game’s most unsung heroes take center stage on the practice field.
James Wise, who coaches the offensive and defensive lines at Lanett, falls into this category. His dedication to Panther football is incredible, with Head Coach Clifford Story making it a point to have him on his coaching staff. What makes Coach Wise’s commitment to Lanett so remarkable is what he has gone through over the last few years. Coach Wise is also a two-time cancer survivor and currently fighting the disease for a third time. He starts radiation next week, but schedules his treatments around practices. A lifelong football player, being on the sidelines at Morgan-Washburn Stadium provide a welcome reprieve.
Friday night, his two worlds collide, as his Panthers will host his Alma mater, Elba in the 2nd Round of the AHSAA 1A Playoffs. On the opposing sideline, Coach Wise will have some familiar competition. Wise graduated from Elba, and has several family members that will be suiting up on Friday, looking to pull off the upset.