The Pikeville Panthers return home as back-to-back state football champions

The Panthers have repeated as state football champions for the first time since Pikeville's...
The Panthers have repeated as state football champions for the first time since Pikeville's 1987-'89 three-peat.(WYMT)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 10:39 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Folk lined the streets of Pikeville on Friday evening as the Panthers returned from their 41-9 win over Raceland at Kroger Field. As back-to-back state champs for the first time since the 1987-’89 three-peat, celebrations such as these have become somewhat of a tradition.

“To get three in a four-year span, it’s just really something else,” said Pikeville head football coach Chris McNamee. “I’m so, so proud of them because they’ve earned it, they’ve come in, they’ve worked hard, and they’re really earned what they got this year.”

School officials say seeing the support from the community as the team returned and celebrating this level of excellence is amazing.

“Nights like tonight, where we get to see this high level of success from our athletes and the work that they put in, to see that, take that out to the field and have great success, it’s just awesome,” said Pikeville Independent Schools Superintendent David Trimble. “It makes me really proud to be a part of this family and what’s happening here in this district.”

For seniors, like star runningback Blake Birchfield, they know that losing players with a high level of experience will be tough for the team, but they are still rooting for a Panther three-peat in 2023.

“I think they’ve got a good group coming up and we lose a lot of people that have played a lot in the past few years, lose some experience, but I know these coaches will have them prepared and ready for next year,” said Birchfield.

Coach McNamee also added that he is grateful to be a part of this football program and to have the opportunity to coach such a wonderful group of young men.