If there is anything the Arrowhead Warhawks have gotten used to in recent years, it is winning football games. Last week, the Warharks captured their second consecutive WIAA Division I state championship title with a commanding 45-24 win over Franklin.
George Panos, son of former Badger and NFL player Joe Panos, has been a part of Arrowhead’s last two title runs – one as a junior in 2012 and this year as a senior. Panos enjoyed both title runs, but it was evident that this year’s meant much more to the star offensive lineman.
"For me and my seniors, this is our team this year,” said Panos. “It was a great experience. This is our championship; last year's was more of the seniors, but this one is definitely ours.”
The Warhawks’ only loss of the season was courtesy of the 2012 Division II champions, Homestead. Panos and the rest of his teammates saw that humbling loss as an opportunity to refocus on the task at hand.
"It was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Panos. “That really humbled us and said, 'you know, you got to work for everything."
One thing that the Warharks had to work for all year was the chance to build upon lofty expectations and the Arrowhead legacy.
"Winning Team of the Year is an awesome thing - I think we won it last year. So getting two back to back is pretty cool," said Panos.
Next year, Panos will not be with the Warhawks anymore. Instead, he will be playing on the same field he won the state championship on, in Madison, for the Badgers. There is one thing that Panos will miss most about his Arrowhead days in Hartland.
"I've been playing with these guys for eight years now. They're my best friends. I’m just really going to miss being able to play with my best friends every day and go out to practice with them,” said Panos.
Panos and the 2013 Warhawks have made their mark this past season, culminating in a great playoff run and a second consecutive state championship. For that, the Arrowhead Warhawks are the 2013 Team of the Year. Congratulations.