The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

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Panthers defeat Whitewater, win 10th region championship

Adeline Harper
Junior Lincoln DeLaere catches a pass from junior quarterback Logan Inagawa. DeLaere scored one of the three touchdowns for the Panthers.

Last Friday, the Panthers earned their 10th region championship title since the school opened in 1997. In a highly anticipated game at Whitewater, the Starr’s Mill defense withstood several tests, helping the Panthers win 24-10.

“When the school opened, there was a high level of expectations and a great culture out in place and a high standard with everything that we do,” head coach Chad Phillips said. “We have met that standard, competing for the region championship is just what we’re supposed to do.”

Senior Dorsey Benefield attempts to advance against the Wildcat defense. The Panther defense stayed strong throughout the game coming up with two key stops on fourth down. (Adeline Harper)

Starr’s Mill is now ranked first in the region with a 6-1 region record. Before winning the region championship, Starr’s Mill was in a four-way tie with Troup County, Trinity Christian High School, and LaGrange High School.

Following losses to Troup and LaGrange, Trinity fell to fourth in the region. Meanwhile, Troup defeated LaGrange to earn the second spot and give LaGrange the third. Starr’s Mill heads into the playoffs on a four-game win streak. 

“[Winning the region championship] means a lot,” junior Logan Inagawa said. “This is something we’ve been working for for a long time and this is something that we haven’t had in the past two years, so it’s good to bring that back.”

Senior Dorsey Benefield scored twice and junior Lincoln DeLaere scored once. The Panthers ran the ball 33 times for 127 yards. Inagawa completed 14 of 20 passes for 180 yards.

The Panthers had eight penalties totaling up to 55 yards. Despite this, the Panther defense stopped the Wildcats twice on fourth down. Senior Taylor Ratinaud played a key role in the win, recovering two of Whitewater’s five fumbles. 

“We had a couple of false starts,” Inagawa said. “In the playoffs, we can’t have those.” 

Winning the region guarantees two home games to begin the playoffs. 

“[Playing at home] gives us a big advantage,” Ratinaud said. “Seeing how much support we have and it makes us want to work harder [and] bring out the win.”

The Panthers host Shaw this Saturday in Panther Stadium at 5 p.m. This will be the team’s 300th game in school history.

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