Even during their darkest moments, Nueces Canyon seniors Winston Walker and Eli Ludlow never felt alone.

As they struggled through losses in 28 of 31 games over three different seasons, Coach Naphtali Fletcher said his team always felt supported by their hometown.

“I talk to both of these students and they both stated that the love the community showed them when things weren’t going so well with the team is what motivated them to keep working hard,” Fletcher told Empower Texans of senior leaders Winston Walker and Eli Ludlow. 

The change in culture has been a complete one for the Panthers, who now sit at 5-1 in six-man competition heading into district play in just their first season with Fletcher as head coach.  

“It started with the basketball season when we just wanted to learn how to compete better, which went into track and into the summer workouts,” Fletcher said.

Walker leads the team as running back with 494 yards and eight total touchdowns, and Ludlow anchors the defense with 45 tackles and five sacks.

In a recent 66-16 blowout win over Fort Davis, the two dominated at their best with Walker rushing for 150 yards and Ludlow registering five tackles. In their five wins, the Panthers have outscored their opponents by an average of more than 40 points.

Meanwhile, Walker and Ludlow are thinking of playing beyond Nueces Canyon at a small college and Fletcher seems convinced both are capable.

Nueces Canyon closes out the district season with battles against Leakey and at home against Medina and Prairie Lea.

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