Portland Panthers enter Week 5 with a 1-3 overall record, but are hopeful to get a big win over non-region foe West Creek on Friday night. The Panthers travel to Clarksville for a 7:00 p.m. kick against a team that should finish no lower than third in Region 7-5A.
West Creek enters 3-1, coming off a 32-3 blowout victory at Dickson County. The Panthers come in off a 14-point loss at Greenbrier.
This game is sandwiched between region games for both teams, so it will be interesting the sense of urgency the two teams bring.
The Coyotes are led by a large senior class of 21 players and 17 returning starters from last year’s team, including their quarterback, lineman and most of their skill-position players. This game will be a tough test for Portland.
Outside of the Panthers win against Montgomery Central in Week 3, the Panthers have struggled to find the end zone. If the purple and white want any chance of competing against the Coyotes, they need to be more efficient on that side of the football. Defensively, the Panthers need to play their best game of the season. West Creek has plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to make you pay if you’re not in the right spot on defense.
In three losses this season, Portland has averaged just six points per game, while giving up 19 points per contest. That ratio needs improve if the Panthers want to win more than just the West Creek game Friday night.
The offensive and defensive lines will have their work cut out for them Friday night, but they will be the most important key for the Panthers in trying to steal a victory on the road. As always, the Panthers need to take care of the football, stay in front of the sticks and make plays when presented the opportunity.
This game does not count toward the region record, or even count towards the Panthers playoff hopes, but what it does do is give a team in desperate need of confidence a big boost as they embark on the second half of the season.
West Creek head coach James Figueroa will have his team ready to play Friday night, as will Greg Cavanah. I expect a hard-hitting football game, where the team that makes the fewest mistakes comes out victorious. But I’m not sold on that being the Panthers.
This Coyote defense has shown it will give up points. During its four games, West Creek has given up 17 points per game and the Panthers should be able to add to that Friday night. I’m just not sure if their defense can stop the Coyote experienced offense.
The purple and white playing at West Creek is just one reason I’m going with the Coyotes in my selection. Couple the road trip with a defense that will struggle to defend the pass, and an offense that can be stagnant at times, and I’m taking the Coyotes by two touchdowns.
West Creek 28, Portland 14