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Panhandle Football by the Numbers

By Alyssa Fox

on 11/21/2017

Goodwell, Okla.—There is an auspicious horizon on the verge of Panhandle football, and the Aggies are coming for it. Working laboriously to adjust to the new NAIA division and match up against a slew of tough teams, the Aggies remained stalwart and emerged at season's end as a developing powerhouse.

The Aggies went 7-3 this 2017 season, producing the winningest class of seniors in the last thirty-five years. Amassing their seven wins is a feat that has only been accomplished once before since 1986, and they accrued an impressive four road wins, a dormant deed last achieved in 1981. The Aggies suffered their share of seasonal battle-scars on penalties and turnovers, but deficiency was not in their playbook. With Head Coach Russell Gaskamp at the helm, Panhandle State entered their inaugural NAIA season predisposed and primed for victory, and resurfaced with a breath of new life that landed the Aggies at a No. 24 ranking in the nation their first time in the Top 25 since 1981.

The Aggie's outstanding efforts earned them a host of favorable Top 10 national overall rankings, including No. 1 in the nation in opponent fourth-down conversions, No. 5 in pass defense efficiency, No. 7 in sacks and No. 7 in total defense. The CSFL released its' 2017 All-League Teams, and the lists are splashed with Panhandle red and blue. Junior RB-Orlando Haymon and senior OL-Jakob Popple were selected to First-Team Offense; senior DL-Zach Perez-Clack, senior LB-Dominick Bell, and senior DB-Marcus McCants were selected to First-Team Defense; senior OL-Cullen Oliver was selected to Second-Team Offense; and sophomore LB-Nathan Leithead was selected to Second-Team Defense. Honorable Mentions include: senior RB-Preston Baker, junior WRs Nick West and Kameron Taylor and senior DL-David Smith.

At the culmination of the season, the Aggies will lose 17 seniors and inescapably, some truly talented athletes who helped pave the way for a new Panhandle program path. However, Coach Gaskamp is looking ahead to the 2018 season with devout alacrity. Gaskamp is enthusiastic for the progress of offensive returners Nick West, Kameron Taylor, Orlando Haymon and Brady Barrett, and defensive returners Nathan Leithead, Jasper Smiley, D'Darrin Primes and Jawan Purifoy.

Gaskamp is optimistic that a compound combination of his athletic leaders of today and upcoming experience of tomorrow will produce the recipe for another winning Aggies season in 2018. The Aggies will be playing on a whole new field, quite literally, as Anchor D Stadium receives the turf treatment and new renovations will welcome the crowds of Aggie fans. Game attendance has doubled and even quadrupled for several home games this season, and hopes for an even further increase are high.

"The program is growing and expanding in a positive direction," says Gaskamp as visions of a new exhilarant season have already piqued in his mind, "Of course our goal will always be to go out and win the CSFL every year." With a winning season behind the venerated Aggies team, their outlook remains roseate and their future golden.

For an in-depth list of season statistics and rankings, please visit the opsuaggies.com website or centralstatesfootballleague.com.