Panthers pump up young fans


The Starr’s Mill High football team is used to having packed stands full of fans cheering them on every Friday night, but they turned the tables on the morning of game day and their “Elementary Night” celebration.

Ahead of that night’s game against Northgate where local elementary school students were encouraged to come out and cheer on the team, Panthers players fanned out to the three elementary schools in their feeder pattern (Braelinn, Oak Grove, and Peeples) to cheer on the students with high fives and words of encouragement to start the day. Players assigned to Braelinn even joined in on the morning announcements and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

“It is our vision to continue to build community within our feeder schools. We see our football program as an agent to build a common bond within feeder schools, much like a Carrollton or Cartersville, and give us something to rally behind together,” said Starr’s Mill head football coach Chad Phillips. “It is our vision to see ‘Elementary Night’ grow into a huge event.”

About 85 percent of the players attended one of the elementary schools, and as many of them as possible were assigned to their former school.

“It was neat to see the teachers of some of our current players interact with their students from a decade ago,” said Phillips. “We hope the building administrators will use our players and program as a tool to create a more successful school environment. It was a win/win for all of us, in my opinion.”