Petal Panthers Reload, Eye State Championship - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Petal Panthers Reload, Eye State Championship

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Playing football at Petal High School means embracing a tradition of recent success.

"We're not used to losing that many games, and whenever we do we take it to heart," says Petal senior defensive end Chris Knight.

"Been a successful program over the years, and really has gotten really successful the last two or three years," says Petal head football coach Marcus Boyles.

Prior to Anthony Alford's senior campaign, Petal had never won a playoff game.

But in 2011, Petal was all of a sudden a controversial call and a missed field goal away from winning the MHSAA 6A State Championship.

Olive Branch walked away with the title, but the Panthers walked away with building blocks.

"They really laid the foundation and now it was our job and the future team's job to really build the house and win the state championships," says Petal senior quarterback Kyle Smith.

But the Panthers fell short of the title game last year, losing to Brandon in the South State Championship Game.

This season the team looks to get over the hump.

"I think there's five or six schools in the South that can make it to Jackson, and I think that we're one of those five or six," says Boyles.

"I'd love to the leave the legacy of our first state championship - I'd love to do that," says Smith.

"It's the last year, so we're just trying to get a state championship," says Knight.

With early-season wins over Hattiesburg and Picayune, Petal looks well on its way to doing just that.

But the players understand the daily process it takes to make it back to Jackson.

"We have great talent," says Smith. "We've got a chance to go a long way, but really the main thing we've got to focus on is getting better as a team every single day, every single practice."

"Just got to make sure the team - we stay focused every game - take it one game at a time," says Knight.

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