Panthers and 'Cats battle for District
The Wildcats and Panthers face off again to decide who goes where following Thursday night’s District show down. Excluding Gardner Edgerton, the Panthers and WIldcats are really the only to “football teams” in the outlying area this year. The problem with trying to determine who might prevail in this game is the two previous district games for both teams gives not clue as to the true strengths and weaknesses of either opponent.
The Panthers and Wildcats have nearly identical records, and with the exception of a “stolen” game by Eudora at Paola the week after the Panthers had lost to Gardner, these teams would have identical records.
Both teams were easily defeated by Gardner, and while the loss to the Blazers must be discounted when examining any team from the Frontier League this year, it might be argued that Paola made a slightly better showing against Gardner, in that the played the Blazers at full strength, with a healthy Bubba Starling and a full strength Justice Berry. The Wildcats who fell to the Blazers by a 40-0 count did not face Starling at all, and Berry retired to the bench in the second half due to an injury.
But the Wildcats can take credit for bouncing back from their defeat at the hands of Gardner better than the Panthers, as Paola dropped a 35-27 game to Eudora the following week, while Louisburg defeated the Cardinals on the road the week after their humbling defeat by the ‘Blazers by a 28-14 count.
One thing for certain, neither team can allow the other to build an early two or three touchdown lead. While both offenses are 4A decent, neither have the skills capability to overcome the others defense. It is both teams defenses that standout. The game will be decided up front, who dominates the line of scrimmage. Both Louisburg and Paola have strong fronts so for the football aficionado this will be a great game to watch.
Both teams do have big play capability, but each defense has shown the capability to “shut down” other teams, discounting the Gardner game, the Wildcats have give up more than one score only once on the season, that being the 14 points scored by Eudora, combine that effort with a 28-0 shutout of Baldwin and the Wildcats defense is allowing just seven points per game on the season.
The Panthers are nearly as strong defensively, only once outside of their 42-14 loss to Gardner did the Panthers allow more than one score, that too was to Eudora who managed to run up 35 points in their victory over Paola. Including the 35 point outburst by Eudora, the Panthers have given up just 63 points on the season, or just nine points per game.
Offensively, the Panthers have averaged 33 points per game (Gardner not included) and the Wildcats have averaged 32 points per game (Gardner not included). The Panthers are lead by Junior tailback Skylar Hawkins and Sophomore Tyler Henness who have both eclipsed the century mark in rushing the past two weeks, Hawkins went over the 1000 yard mark during the game at Prairie View. The Panther offense is run by sophomore quarterback Seth Kern who has grown more comfortable in managing the Paola ground game, throwing in an occasional pass play. All in all, the Panthers are much more comfortable running the ball, they are not a threat to beat anyone through the air.
The Wildcats are lead by Junior running back Alex Gentges, Senior running back Ryan Roberts and Senior Quarterback Drew Harding, possessing a more balanced attach, but still wanting to be a power running team. The Cats will mix the passing game in, and their running game compliments a play action style passing attack.
The game is going to be won on field position, turnovers or some odd play that determines the momentum. These teams are so evenly matched, the defenses and special teams will make the difference. Don’t look for an offensive outburst from either side of the ball, this could be a low scoring, clock eating game, unless the elements come into play. With the impending storm system that is scheduled to arrive in the area on game day, mother nature could be as big a determining factor as either defense or offense could dream of.
If the weather turns bad, the team that can grind it out and not only hold the ball, but hold on to the ball the best will come out on top. This is a pick-em game, and with teams this evenly matched, the advantage would have to lean to the home team.
Trojans seek Pioneer League title
After two games in district and against Frontier League opposition, the Osawatomie Trojans and Prairie View Buffalos will welcome the return to Pioneer League play as both teams will wrap up the 2009 football season at Osawatomie on Thursday night.
Both the Trojans and Buffalos spent the last two weeks taking on the Paola Panthers and the Louisburg Wildcats, with pretty much identical results, as the Trojans dropped back to back games against Paola and Louisburg by scores of 54-6 and 55-8. The Buffalos on the other hand were handled by Louisburg 48-6 before being blanked by the Panthers 63-0.
The Buffalos, with little to play for, will take on a Trojan team that has had to endure two lopsided losses after jumping to a 6-0 start and climbing to as high a fifth in the state in Class 4A before their initial defeat of the season at the hands of the Panthers. The Trojans can take a little bit of the sting of the last two weeks away, by taking care of business against the Buffalos, and wrapping up an undefeated Pioneer League season, and a nice 7-2 record.
The Trojans will be lead on the field by quarterback Seth Jones, who has completed just over 50% of his passes on the season, going 75 of 144 for 898 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Jones has averaged 112 yards per game through the air, with his favorite targets being Brandon Oakes and Daine Needham with 22 and 17 catches respectively. Oakes leads the team in receptions and yards on the season with 262 yards good for nearly 12 yards per catch. Needham is third on the team with 198 yards on the season with Hunter Taylor just ahead with 205 yards on 14 catches on the season.
Jameson Greenwood continues to lead the Trojans in rushing, standing just shy of the 1000 yards on the season, and should break that mark easily. Oakes is the Trojans second leading rusher, with 323 yards on 40 carries.
Defensively, Andy French easily leads the Trojans in tackles with 84 stops on the season, Ryan Warner is second with 68 tackles, and Brandt Johnson with 53.
The Buffalos are led by quarterbacks Dakota Danner and Matt Ferguson, each having nearly identical statistics. The Buffs are 26 of 78 in the passing department for 442 yards or 63 yards per game. Estevon Davis is the Buffs leading rusher with 468 yards on 94 carries. As a team, Prairie View has carried 249 times for 1206 yards on the season, a 172 yard per game average.
On the defensive side, Devin Greiner leads the team in tackles with 62, followed by Ferguson with 53, and John Hatfield with 49.
The Trojans will try and get their high powered offense back on track, after being shut down for the most part the last two weeks. The Buffalos are going to try and survive, as they have taken a beating the past two weeks against Louisburg and Paola.