It is safe to say the 2020 high school football season did not go as the Pike Valley Panthers hoped. They started just 1-5 and had one of their games cancelled due to COVID. With just two games remaining, many teams would have folded. However, Pike Valley buckled their chin straps tight and finished the season with two straight wins, one of which, a win over Osborne, changed the trajectory of the playoffs for 8-Man DII District 4. The Bulldogs were forced to go on the road against eventual state champion Hanover as the fourth team out of District 4 after Pike Valley beat them 30-28 in the final district contest. Meanwhile, the Panthers, just missing the playoffs, dominated their final game against Blue Valley-Randolph 54-6 to finish the year at 3-5.
Two of the leaders from that team have one last opportunity to represent the Panthers this Saturday for the 8-Man DII East All-Stars. Ethan Benne and Brennan Flavin both had solid senior campaigns to earn their spots as all-stars.
Benne is a legacy in the 8-Man All-Star Game as his dad Steven played in the game in 1995, which was the first year the East-West format took place. Ethan was an honorable mention all-state lineman and kicker as a senior. He had 48 tackles, three for loss and five sacks for the Panthers. Benne points to some help from his dad in reaching this point and also remembers some of his best high school memories.
Brennan Flavin also had a solid senior season for the Panthers. He also finished with 48 tackles and two tackles for loss and led the team with 9.5 sacks. Flavin was an honorable mention all-state offensive lineman as well. Like Benne, one of his favorite memories was being a part of the 2017 squad that went 11-1.
Benne and Flavin have their final chance to represent Pike Valley as teammates on the DII East All-Star team. The game starts at 10:00 on Saturday morning with pregame coverage beginning on KD Country 94, KR 92 and 8manallstars.com on the 8-Man All-Star Radio Network at 9:30 from Trojan Field in Beloit.