In Thursday’s 5-1 win over Greenwood, the Daviess County Panthers not only defeated a 4th Region power but they also hit a plateau that not many programs have achieved.
The win gave the Daviess County boys’ soccer program 500 wins and coach Doug Sandifer, who’s been there for about 400 of them, said consistency was key.
“High school soccer is like every high school sport, you get a new group every year,” he said. “Those new groups buying in to what we’re trying to do and understanding whatever the tradition is that we’ve built and our expectations.”
The Panthers have been on a tear for the last decade and it’s been done with different waves of players.
“Each team doesn’t look the same as the previous team but the expectations are there and the demands, they know are there,” Sandifer ,said. “Maybe it’s a little bit of pressure for players but I think it’s a good pressure. If you’re going to come out here and play, you know once you get out here what’s expected of you and what our program is asking of you and you either buy in to it or you don’t.”
Sandifer has been at the helm of the Panther program for more than 25 years and he’s seen many of the team’s wins but he admits the losses have a spot in his mind as well.
“500 is great, I’m very proud of it obviously,” he said. “800 total games, we reached that the first game of the year, I’m very proud of that. Probably a number that I also know as well … is the 147 losses that have been under my watch. Those are the games that keep me up at night. 500 wins or 400, whatever it may be for me, you sleep like a baby. It’s the 147 losses in that same 26 years of mine that stick with me.
“The regional runners-up, the district runners-up over the years, those stick out to me and are as disappointing to me as the wins have been thrilling or exciting or rewarding. It sounds cheesy to say it that way but I think back to all those losses and go ‘How many of those games did we lose that we probably shouldn’t have or if we’d just done this, we would have reached 500 three or four years ago.’”
On Saturday, DC made it 501 as it took down Owensboro Catholic to go 3-0 in district play. With the win, the Panthers will go into the 9th District Tournament yet again as the top seed.
Sandifer said while the honor is great, there is still more work to be done.
“It is a milestone I’m proud of for this program,” he said. “There’s still some other things we want to reach. I’d like to get to about 700 before I get out of here.”