2002 season is the last for the Panthers

2002 season is the last for the Panthers by Bethany Parvin This 2002 season will be the last one for Wakonda-Gayville-Volin Panthers.

School boards from both districts agreed to dissolve the football co-op. The 2003 season will see Wakonda combined with the Irene football team.

"The Irene and Wakonda districts are looking at consolidation in the future," said Dave Hutchinson, the principal for Wakonda and Irene high schools. "This is just a step toward the future of the Irene and Wakonda Districts."

The WGV Panthers team has had some successful years with coaches Culver, Eckern, Neitzel, and Meyer.

In the 1995 and 1996 seasons, the Panthers earned trips to the state championships at the DakotaDome. The Panthers beat Kimball for the championship trophy in 1995.

They lost to Plankinton-White Lake in 1996, and had to settle for state runner-up status.

This co-op's 14-year history includes: 1988, an 8-1 season; 1989, 3-5; 1990, 3-5; 1991, 2-6; 1992, 3-5; 1993, 3-5; 1994, 4-4; 1995, a perfect 12-0 season when they brought home the championship trophy; 1996, state runners-up and an 11-2 season; 1997, 4-4; 1998, 3-5; 1999, 3-5; 2000, 3-5; and 2001, 4-5.

When the 2003 season unites past rivals Irene and Wakonda, a new mascot and color scheme will need to be adopted. A mix of Wakonda's green and Irene's red seemed inappropriate for team colors. Student councils of each school have narrowed down some possible choices for mascots and their colors to be voted upon by both school districts this month

They include: the Eagles, black and gold; the Rebels, red white and blue; or the Knights, black, blue, and silver.

Uniforms will be ordered and a new hope for football dreams will emerge.

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