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Panthers execution concerns Woodsfield

WOODSFIELD -- Nobody does it better.

That's the feeling of Woodsfield Monroe Seminoles head coach Jay Circosta as he looks at the Chesapeake Panthers.

Circosta said his team has seen similar offensive formations by opponents this season, but he admits that the Panthers have perfected the attack.

"They don't compare to anyone we've played," Circosta said. "We've faced run and shoot, double wing this year, but no one does it as well as they do. They have an excellent running game, excellent speed, nice running backs and linemen, and they're well-coached."

Woodsfield will get to see the Panthers up-close Saturday when the two teams meet at 7 p.m. in the Division V Region 19 semifinals at Circleville Logan Elm High School.

Woodsfield, 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll, will have its stingy defense tested by Chesapeake (8-3) which scored 35 points last week against Steubenville Catholic. The Seminoles have allowed just 40 points the entire season.

"We've played pretty well so far, but we'll get a good test this week," Circosta said.

The double-wing, single setback offense was originally designed as a passing offense. But many teams are using it as a running formation, including Chesapeake. The running game has produced a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in senior Michael Hunt (1,005) and his brother, junior Cody Hunt (1,079).

Ironically, the Panthers have thrown for just 194 passing yards on 24 attempts. Tyler Marcum is 6 of 10 for 103 yards and Justin Finley 5 of 14 for 91.

"Their quarterbacks do an excellent job," Circosta said. "Chesapeake has a lot of weapons even though they don't throw it. They do the misdirection extremely well and the quarterbacks handle the ball well. The Hunt brothers have a lot of quickness, speed, and cutback ability. They're good football players. You can't let them get into the secondary or they'll take it all the way."

The Panthers running game will be quite a test for the Seminoles, who start only one player on defense who weighs 200 pounds. Quarterback Michael Jorris is the biggest player on offense at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds.

"We're not very big. We look like a junior high team, but our kids have some quickness. When you're not very big, you have to rely on quickness. We coach them to go to the football and so far we've done that. But Chesapeake has exceptionally skilled people and good linemen," Circosta said.

"It's their strength running the football against our defense. That's a good matchup to start with. And turnovers are a key in every game. Each week you're facing a better team and if you (turn the ball over) you get beat."

Saturday's winner advances to the regional finals against the winner of the game between Amanda-Clearcreek (9-2) and Sarahsville Shenandoah (8-3).