Opening night: Perspectives



On Thursday evening, the West Ottawa Panthers opened their palatial stadium with a 21-10 win over Portage Northern. 

   Sr. Quarterback Cole Tulgestke commanded an efficient offense that leaned on the running of Sophs. Kayden Forbes and Ruben Esparza.  Sr. Ryan Stam keyed the defense as a disruptive force.

   The evening was special, and not just because of the game that moved to the Panthers’ record to 2-0. This was about brining together the community in a fantastic venue for a shared experience. The night was a success, no matter the perspective.


Assistant Principal Lindsay Cherry

“If you look around, we have so many people who are alumni who have come to visit, who may not have been to the games last year, which is so cool; we’ve got people from all around Holland that have just wanted to come and check out tonight. The football team had to kinda step up and be up to the same standard that the stadium is at, and they’re doing it, so it’s really exciting. “


Football Parent Jim Terpstra

“I’m overwhelmed with joy and happiness and I cannot stop smiling. The stadium, the community, are all together at this beautiful new stadium. Plus the boys are crushing Portage Northern.“


Jr. Tight End Matt Harrison

“The new stadium is unbelievable; everything from the locker room to the field itself is top notch and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to play in it with my team. Coach Collins has done a fantastic job building a program and he, along with the entire coaching staff, really embody our core values.”


Middle School Principal Bre Bartels

“I think standing there next to the concession stand, right after the end of half time, and I can see practically every seat full. I think the stadium brings everybody together because literally the whole community, or practically the whole community, is here.”


Portage Northern Sr. Jada Clomon

“It’s kind of like a college stadium.  It definitely makes the game more enjoyable.”


Jr. Quincey Leonard

“The new stadium is so nice. It’s like seeing a professional game! it was really nice to see all the students come together to support our team. I had never seen our student section so full!”


PA Announcer Karl Von Ins

“With a win to open the home stadium it’s incredible… It’s great to start the season 2-0.”


Athletic Director Bill Kennedy

The stadium will become the center for the community for years to come. We are one of those districts that does not have a downtown; with this new facility we now have a spot for our community to gather together. This of course is all in addition to what it provides our student athletes and band, who now have a state of the art facility to play and practice in. The crowd on Thursday was amazing. It was so great to see the community come together and support the team, and that support certainly helped our team achieve victory. I am hopeful that this is the new normal and we continue to engage the community with events in West Ottawa Stadium.” 


Jr. (injured) Football Player Mark Cosgrove

“My heart raced as I heard the final buzzer ring while the clock gowentes to zero. I watched my teammates jump up and down all around me screaming. Seeing everyone so happy is just incredible. I listened to the crowd cheer as I felt the support of a whole town, as one community. But the best part of it all was running over to cheer with the Black Hole. In that one moment I truly felt bliss.”


Cheerleader Danielle Kyes

“It’s much more exciting because the stadium is much louder and there’s way more people. I do miss having the track and there is less room but I like the turf still, too; it’s much softer.”