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Carolina Panthers

Posted: November 19, 2013 11:07 a.m.
Updated: November 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

When it comes to football, most people in Kershaw County and across South Carolina get divided up into one of two camps -- either the University of South Carolina or Clemson. There’s a pretty sizeable hump between the two, and fans tend to fall onto one side or the other. But since the Carolina Panthers started playing in the National Football League in 1995, it’s given residents of the Palmetto State a team virtually everyone can cheer for. Of course, there are a few old diehard Washington Redskins fans left around Kershaw County from the days when that was the only team that appeared on television in these parts, and a few people gravitated to the Atlanta Falcons when they entered the NFL. But the Panthers are the overwhelmingly favorite team, and after a few seasons of frustration, the Charlotte-based gridders are finally giving Kershaw Countians something to cheer about. Monday night’s exciting win over the always-good New England Patriots was the team’s sixth victory in a row after a slow start, and the Panthers are now firmly in the playoff picture.

There’s been a lot of frustration since 2003, when the Panthers played in the Super Bowl, falling to the Patriots. Losses have outnumbered wins, and the team has had an especially hard time winning close games. They continued that trend early this year, dropping winnable games in their first two contests. But led by quarterback Cam Newton and a stiff defense, the Panthers are now looking like they can beat anybody, as proven by Monday night’s win over the Patriots, a dominant team for many years. After dropping three of their first four games this year, the team has now won six in a row, and fans who jammed Bank of America Stadium Monday night were raucous in their support.

Perhaps this year will signal a return to that 2003 glory year and the Panthers will still be playing on Super Bowl Sunday. If that happens, both Clemson and USC fans can put aside their differences to cheer the team on.

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