By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Southwest Covenant is aiming to continue their run in the
Class C playoffs as the Patriots take to the road for a quarterfinal challenge.
The No. 5-ranked Patriots will play the No. 1-ranked Pond Creek-Hunter Panthers tonight in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Pond Creek.
It will be the first ever meeting between the teams. Pond Creek comes in with an 11-0 record after a 48-0 win over Thackerville last week. The Patriots are 9-2 and rolled to a 59-14 win over Sharon-Mutual in their first ever playoff win.
It is the first time the Patriots have reached the quarterfinals as well and the team is ready to meet the challenge of the defending state runner-up Panthers.
“It’s an exciting time, I think the players are ready,” SWCS head coach Trey Cloud said. “It is definitely a test, but it is a winnable game. We just need to enjoy the moment.
“They are a balanced team, they will throw the ball as much as they run it,” he added. “They have a quarterback that can throw it and some tall fast kids on offense. But, we told the kids that if they go out and do their job and everyone does their job and you don’t try and do their job we won’t get into trouble.
“The No. 1 thing is we have to be physical, we have to come out and hit them in the mouth from the start. We will see where it goes from there.”
The Panthers have steamrolled their opponents through 11 games, outscoring teams 577-126 (an average of 52.5 points a game to 11). Pond Creek has not scored fewer than 44 points in a game and have gone over the half-century mark eight times. They would have made it nine times if the mercy rule didn’t end their 48-0 rout of Thackerville in last week’s playoff opener.
Pond Creek’s offense is triggered by Tyler Kerr, who has run for 11 touchdowns and passed for 11 more.
Zac Davis has run for 11 touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes. Cole Jones, who doubles as both a runner and receiver, has scored 11 touchdowns, including a pass interception and a punt return.
Noah Miller, who filled in for Davis, has scored 12 touchdowns, two coming on fumble recoveries, Brandon Gibson has six touchdowns, four on pass receptions, another on a punt return as well as 37-yard pass interception.
“They have several kids that can score on you at anytime, so it will be key that we do our jobs on defense,” he said. “We can’t let them get the big plays, they can score on you in a hurry
“They are one of those teams that can intimidate you,” he said. “They are a good team, not as good as last year, but they are not a team that you look at and go oh crud, we have to play them. It will be an exciting game for our kids.
“The one thing about Pond Creek is they are very fast, they like to get the ball on the edge,” he said. “The quarterback is fast, he is not very big, but he can throw the ball. Their defense is good, they will mix things up. We feel we can move the ball on them, they play a bend but not break type of defense.
“At this point of the season, all the teams are good and any of them can win. If we can set the tone with our physicality, our attitude and aggression, we will be fine.”
It could be a high scoring game. The Patriots can put points on the board in a hurry with an attack that features a strong running and passing game.
Sam Webb threw for 261 yards and led the Patriots to 426 yards of total offense. He threw to several differenty receivers and has plenty of targets to throw to like Cole Shaw, Bryce Brown, Trevor Kelly, Nathan Hagan and Tyler Kelly. Shaw caught five passes for 143 yards and two scores and Brown had two pass receptions.
Cloud also said the defensive line will have to have another good game. He said the line played their best game of the season last week against a Sharon-Mutual offensive front that he said was the second best they had played.
“The key for us is to play within ourselves,” Cloud said. “We can’t go up there and be intimidated, that is where we will run into problems. We just need to go out and do our job and we will be all right.”