Very few people outside of the Weslaco High locker room expected the Panthers to sit atop the District 32-6A standings this past season. In a district that features powerhouses like Harlingen High and San Benito, as well as constant contender Los Fresnos, the Panthers were picked by many to finish fourth in the standings.

Led by fifth-year head coach Roy Stroman, however, the Panthers proved the doubters wrong and overcame every obstacle, putting together a 10-0 regular season en route to the district crown.

After leading the Panthers to their first district title since 2015 and their first unbeaten regular season since 1991, Stroman is The Monitor’s All-Area Coach of the Year.

Weslaco High head football coach Roy Stroman gives direction on the field in a non-district game against Harlingen South at Bobby Lackey Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in Weslaco. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Prior to the start of the season, Stroman was dealt a heavy blow, losing his mom, Lupita,  just weeks before the start of play.

The team rallied around their head coach, dedicating the 2023 season to Stroman’s mother.

The motivated Panthers came out of the gate hot, outscoring their non-district opponents 154-37 en route to a 5-0 start.

That momentum carried into district play, opening it with a thrilling 35-32 victory over Harlingen High at Bobby Lackey Stadium. They put the exclamation point on their unbeaten regular season with a 27-21 double-overtime victory over San Benito to secure the District 32-6A crown, the icing on a season dedicated to their leader’s mom.

Weslaco High head coach Roy Stroman looks up to the sky after his team captured the District 32-6A title. (Andrew Cordero | Special to RGVSports)

After a bi-district win over Mission High (35-6) the Panthers’ 2023 campaign came to an end in the Class 6A DII area round, falling to San Antonio Jay 27-14.

The Panthers finished the year with an 11-1 overall mark, their most wins since current Texas A& M Kingsville head coach Mike Salinas led the Panthers to an 11-2 mark and a regional semifinal appearance.