Stamford High School football returns to playoffs for first time since 1995
A total of 48 football teams played across the state on Tuesday, and for the first time in almost 30 years, Stamford High School was one of them.
The team made its return to the playoffs against defending-state champs Greenwich High School at Cardinal Stadium.
Playing football after Thanksgiving was Donny Panapada’s goal when he took over the Stamford High football program two years ago. He says that that goal has become a reality.
“It’s huge, it means so much to the community, the City of Stamford, for the school. We’ve had a very good fall season with the soccer team, and now we’re able to follow it up with some football, and hopefully, we can continue the run tonight,” said Panapada.
The Black Knights's last trip to the state playoffs was back in 1995. They finished this year’s regular season with a 7-3 record.
A win on Thanksgiving Day against city rival Westhill helped them clinch the seventh seed in Class LL.
“It’s been a great season, I’m so excited for these boys, they’ve worked to get here and they deserve it,” said Panapada.
And even though the ball didn’t bounce Stamford’s way Tuesday night, the program coach says there’s a bright future ahead.
"I want all the younger kids to come out and see this, see how our kids act, how they play, how they perform and they [want to] be a part of that and that’s a great thing,” Panapada said. “We’ve got some kids that come from some rough backgrounds and for them to experience this and their families to experience, that’s what it’s all about.”
The state semifinals will happen this weekend and the state championship games will take place the following weekend.