Celebration rang out this week in Dillon as the Panthers made it to the playoffs for the third straight year. However, the more pressing issues concerning the town’s parents’ relationships with their children may have overshadowed this cause.

The Garrity children came back to town to visit their father and sister. JD McCoy, his father, and Coach Taylor had several moments that demonstrated their intertwined relationships. And it also came to light that a troubled athlete was playing football unbeknownst to his parents, and contrary to their wishes. Also on the home-front, the Riggins boys, Jason Street and Herc finished work on their house, and received their first bid for sale. Landry finally got over his feelings for Tyra, pursuing a relationship with the new bass-player of his band, but it turned out she was a lesbian. It began as a rough week for most concerned parties, but ended with the win and the elation that entailed.

In stereotypical fashion, Buddy Garrity welcomed his children home at the airport to learn that they are both vegans and his only son plays football. It seemed as if they had been brainwashed by their stepfather, or their environment (but they mentioned his name quite frequently), into a northern Californian lifestyle. Their bratty behavior led to frequent tussles and a Buddy bailout during their camping trip, as they were not pleased with the high-end steaks Buddy had procured for the occasion.
Having sensed failed relationships with his children, Buddy had almost given up were it not for the interference of Lyla. She gave a stern talking-to to her siblings, encouraging them to show gratitude to their father for the things he was doing for them. After the game, they relented on their new lifestyle to beg for ice cream sundaes, having obviously enjoyed themselves in “fascist Texas” at high school football game.

It seemed the boosters were birds of a feather, as Joe McCoy became similarly frustrated with the actions of his only child. JD could not seem to throw right, frequently missing his targets, drawing the ire of his father. Sensing the father-son tension spilling onto the football field, Coach Taylor thought it was his responsibility to address the issue with Joe McCoy. At a dinner party, Coach acknowledged the awkwardness he felt during their previous encounter when JD explained to Coach his drinking. Sweeping the incident under the rug, Joe continued to Coach his son from the stands, which frustrated Coach Taylor even more.

As Dillon High struggled going into halftime, Coach Taylor came up with a novel idea. He decided to go to the no-huddle offense, putting more pressure on JD, but diminishing both his, and the father’s influence on JD. This worked wonderfully for the Panthers, as JD could focus his entire energy on the game, and completed pass after pass. The relationship between coach and father, and father and son, then diminished considerably, as the father was absent from the post-game festivities.

The Riggins boys and company finally finished touching up their house, and put it on the market. An argument ensued, as Street decided to raise the price to almost $300,000. The others wanted to keep it low to make sure it did not stay on the market too long, increasing their much-needed profits. Street, in an effort to support his family, gave an emotional plea to keep the price high, which everyone agreed to rather than come off as insensitive. The house ended up selling extremely quickly, within a week; that seemed a little curious, given the economy at the time, and the unlikely hood in the best of times of such a quick turnaround.

Billy Riggins finally got help in getting Riggins into college on scholarship when he enlisted Jason Street as his publicist. Jason decided to film Tim in practice, and parse through his game films searching for highlights. Creating Riggins’ fanfare, along with meeting a former receiver’s future agent, prompted Jason to make the decision to pursue a career in a sports agency. The camera left as he was telling Lyla and beginning to prepare for his departure. Given that we haven’t heard anything from Smash once he left for college, it may not be out of the question that we will soon be saying good bye to Jason Street, and possibly Herc.

As absent of a father as Jason Street has been, at least he wasn’t unaware that his child was playing high school for the biggest team in town. Tami was forced to discipline a football player…for lighting a girl’s hair on fire…by inviting his parents in for a conference. When it became clear he forged their signatures on the forms, he was taken off the team, leaving Coach and Tami to convince his parents to keep him on.
It did not seem orchestrated, but Tami and Coach played a tremendous game of Good Cop-Bad Cop. Coach used the brute force approach, taking offense at the direction of the argument, while Tami decided to compromise by inviting them to see their son in action, as the starting fullback for the team. When he came out of the locker room clutching the game ball, his parents were nothing but smiles, heaping praise on him for his play, thus seeming to endorse his involvement with the football team.
Well Panthers, all’s well that ends well.

The Panthers made the playoffs, the family units that began intact are still intact, and the ones that began split started to mend their wounds. This Panther fan cannot wait to see what the playoffs entail, or if this could be the coach to lead our boys to a second state title. There was no news on Matt Saracen’s situation, but he was seen holding kicks during practice, so he hasn’t quit yet. Time will tell what Riggins will be doing next year, hopefully we’ll see him on a few Saturday afternoons in Norman. We’re still waiting for our Jumbotron, and other than that, we’re looking forward to see what happens to Jason Street in the big city with the bright lights of superstardom. Things are looking up from here, Panther Fans, until next time.

Recap by Leon Phelps