Hartland Arrowhead defeated one of their conference rivals, Waukesha West in dominant fashion on Thursday night. Helping the Warhawk offensive attack was the strong play of an offensive line which includes junior George Panos.
"We knew coming in that we had an upper hand, but West being a huge rivalry and us losing the last two games to them, we knew they'd come out fired up. We came out with more intensity and came out and showed that we're the best team in the state."
Being 6'5, 290-lbs, and a Wisconsin commit, Panos has a target on his back every game, and he's noticed opponents coming at him a little differently this season,
"There have been plays towards the end of the game, where the games are out of reach, where people are diving at the knees, but it's expected. I just deal with it, always protect myself and I'm out to prove that I got what I got."
He has the unique opportunity to be coached by his father, Joe Panos, a former Badger himself who played in the NFL, and is now the offensive line coach at Arrowhead.
"He's playing good football right now," Coach Panos said of George. "There is a lot of room for improvement. He knows that, more importantly, I never stress how he should do or how he's doing, we think O-line first, and what all five of us are doing, but he knows in order for the line to play their best, he has to play his best."
Something else Dad never stressed, was where to go to college. The younger Panos picked up several scholarship offers, and was afforded the opportunity to make his own choice. It just so happened, he wanted to keep the family lineage at Madison going.
"I always told him, don't follow my footsteps. I said, create your own. It was wide open. I did not want to push him any way at all, because I didn't want him, years later, to say, 'dad why did you tell me to go here or there?' But once they offered, he knew where he wanted to go."
George has been to every home game this season, and will keep that streak going this Saturday. He says every time he watches the team take the field, he gets chills thinking about when he will do the same. Part of attending these games has been the opportunity to speak with other recruits and continue building a 2014 class which is already shaping up to be a great one.
"I've talked to all the recruits. First it was me, then it was Chance [Stewart], then Jaden [Gault], Conor [Sheehy] and Craig [Evans]. Before Craig committed, we all talked to him and tried to get him to commit. He committed in the next couple days, so I think what we said to him helped and I'm trying to talk to the other 2014 guys to get them to commit to Wisconsin."
Staying home and making sure other top players from Wisconsin stay home has been a theme in this class. Throw in Stewart, one of the Midwest's top quarterback prospects, and you have a great foundation. Stewart himself, should be happy that he'll have Panos and Gault protecting him up front.
"It's awesome. We have a really special class coming in. We already have the four best players in state and the best quarterback in Michigan, Me and Jaden have got his back for the next couple years, so we're excited for what's going to happen."
With this season rapidly approaching the playoffs, George and his father will a year and half more of work at the high school level before another Panos takes the field at Camp Randall for the Badgers, and both are going to make sure he's ready for that day.
"Just general improvement. He's only a junior, only 16, he's got a long way to go, but he works his tail off and I'm very proud of that."