Two weeks ago, when the calendar flipped to October, not many people at Putnam City North were thinking about the playoffs.
The Panthers just wanted to win a game. After going 0-for-September, including the first loss to rival Putnam City West in 13 years, the Panthers had the look of a team going through a serious rebuilding mode.
On Oct. 3, PC North fought its way into the win column with a 31-23 win over Moore, a win that carried little weight outside the Panther locker room.
But last Friday night, the Panthers pulled off the biggest upset in Class 6A football this season, and one of the biggest in the state, with a 21-20 overtime victory against then-No. 9 Midwest City.
And suddenly, it's a whole new world for PC North football.
Those playoff aspirations that appeared two weeks ago like a long shot are now much more attainable — as long as the Panthers can prove wasn't a fluke but a step in the right direction for a young team coming of age.
“When we were 0-4, we had to change a bunch of things, mentally and physically,” said wide receiver Kaedyn Fuller, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime last week. “We switched some people in and found the right spots for some guys. Now we've got to keep building on that momentum.
“We had some guys quit, because they didn't think we were gonna go anywhere. The guys that stayed around, the captains, they could've given up a long time ago. The playoffs weren't even in the picture at first, but to most of us, that's the main thing we wanted to reach.”
Of the four games remaining, the Panthers have two winnable ones — Thursday against U.S. Grant at Star Spencer, and Nov. 1 at home against Lawton Eisenhower — and two more big tests, at Normam North and Yukon.