Northern Michigan Panthers Embark on Inaugural Season
Football is returning to northern Michigan and Petoskey this weekend in the form of a new semi-pro team.
The Northern Michigan Panthers will embark on their inaugural season this summer and will call Petoskey and Northmen Stadium home.
Team owner Jeremiah Ecker is excited to bring semi-pro football to the area. Ecker also suits up as a linebacker.
“Petoskey hasn’t had a semi-pro football league here,” Ecker said. “The entertainment is going to be outstanding. And hopefully we can bring that championship home to Petoskey.”
The Panthers are members of the Greater Midwest Football Conference, competing alongside the Northern Michigan Wolves, Battle Creek Assassins and Albion Warriors.
Outside linebacker Travis Kramer is one of many Panthers with experience at the semi-pro level.
“This is my fourth year of semi-pro, and I love it,” Kramer said. “It’s just another chance to get back on the gridiron and get the helmet back on and start hitting people.”
“We’re bonding a lot and it’s become a real brotherhood of a family when we’re out there,” added cornerback Chandler Roberts. “Everyone is supporting each other you know and someone says they are missing a belt or something, someone says, you know I got one for you and you know it’s just small stuff like that, but it has a ripple effect and really brings us together.”
The Panthers will play a six-game schedule, with back-to-back weeks of home games beginning this weekend.
“Can’t even explain this, exciting, nervous, adrenaline rush, just bundles of emotions all in one,” Panthers head coach Matthew Barnes said. “Proud to be here, proud to be working with these great group of guys and amazing athletes and we’ve got a lot to show and a lot to prove for being our first year so we’ll see where it takes us.
“We want the championship. We got a championship team. A lot of these guys have been doing this for a long time and they honestly deserve to get a championship. So that’s our goal every year.”
The Panthers open their inaugural season against the Northern Michigan Wolves at Northmen Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
2020 Northern Michigan Panthers Schedule
Saturday, June 27 – Northern Michigan Wolves at Northern Michigan Panthers
Saturday, July 4 – Albion Warriors at Northern Michigan Panthers
Saturday, July 11 – Northern Michigan Panthers at Battle Creek Assassins
Saturday, July 18 – Northern Michigan Panthers at Northern Michigan Wolves
Saturday, July 25 – Northern Michigan Panthers at Albion Warriors
Saturday, August 1 – Battle Creek Assassins at Northern Michigan Panthers